Smashburger debuts ‘Virtual Drive-Thru’ in Houston

Fast casual indicates drive-thru format provides convenient, sustainable pick-up option to improve CX

Smashburger rolled out what it describes as a Virtual Drive-Thru in Houston, Texas. The better-burger chain has committed to innovate as far as the customer experience is concerned. This follows a new kitchen design that the chain unveiled – – also in an effort to meet’ consumers’ expectations for convenience and ease of access.

The newly-opened company store provides an experience akin to a drive-in, but in to-go fashion. Customers can order ahead online or through the Smashburger app and then pull into a designated spot. A Smashburger crew member then brings the order to the guest’s vehicle.

Smashburger’s Virtual Drive-Thru implements Curbit’s digital ordering system that gives guests an exact wait time for their order and ability to track the order accurately from start to finish. With the wait time reduction, the technology increases customer satisfaction with a 30% lift in customer repeat rate.

The introduction of the Virtual Drive-Thru not only allows a streamlined operation, but also offers a more contactless experience. Additionally, the Virtual Drive-Thru is more environmentally friendly than the standard drive-thru, as it reduces traffic congestion and carbon emissions by minimizing the amount of time customers spend idling in the car.


The fast casual provides guests with an exact time their order will be ready. Moreover, Smashburger customers can track the order from start to finish, according to a statement. The technology deployment via Curbit’s digital ordering system decreases wait times. As a result, Smashburger has seen a 30% lift in customer repeat rates due to greater satisfaction.

Carl Bachman, Smashburger president, said, “Smashburger has always been committed to providing our customers with the best possible experience. This is why we are thrilled to be introducing our new prototype offering a more convenient way for our customers to order their favorite burgers. Smashburger wants to meet our customers where they want to be met, and the increased use of mobile ordering has led us to this new Virtual Drive Thru design.”

He added that franchisees will also benefit through a diversification in potential sites for development. Bachman suggests that the Virtual Drive-Thru is more environmentally friendly. With customers spending less time in their vehidcle, emissions are greatly reduced.

“With the new Virtual Drive-Thru prototype providing real-time updates on order status and estimated wait times, customers can make informed decisions about their time and schedule,” says Veronica Luna, director of digital business channels at Smashburger. “Although this new technology will work to streamline the customer experience, it will also provide significant benefits to our franchisees including increased speed of service, improved order accuracy, and reduced labor costs.”


Smashburger has targeted the markets of Southern California, North and South Carolina,and Florida for development.

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