New York (CNN Business)Pizza Hut is doubling down on the growing popularity of the drive-thru with a new digital-focused version now opening at more than 1,500 restaurants with more to come.
The pizza chain announced Tuesday a new pick-up window called “The Hut Lane,” which it said offers “convenience and speed without customers ever having to park their cars.” Customers can pick up orders placed through the Pizza Hut app, website and the restaurant’s phone number through the new lane.
Pizza Hut is has added “The Hut Lane” to more than 1,500 locations.Pizza Hut developed the Hut Lanes because of changing consumer behavior during the pandemic, the company said. Pizza Hut expanded ways for customers to pick up their pizzas while limiting human contact. For example, it was the first national pizza chain to offer contactless curbside pickup.
The reimagined window is “part of the brand’s long-term strategy to modernize through digital ordering and improved customer experiences.” Contactless curbside pickup and delivery will remain available at locations without the new lane.
During the pandemic, drive-thrus have emerged as a key way for fast-food restaurants to sell to customers. Chains that have relied on them for years, like Taco Bell, McDonald’s and Burger King, are unveiling innovative new concepts designed to get more customers through faster. Others, including Chipotle and Shake Shack, are rapidly adding drive-thru locations or opening them for the first time.Read MoreLast week, Taco Bell announced a new restaurant format that has dual drive-thrus and smaller dining rooms. Similar to Pizza Hut’s idea, one of Taco Bell’s drive-thru lanes is dedicated to pick-up orders made on its app or website. Both chains are owned by Yum! Brands (YUM).