The San Antonio double drive-thru unit now regularly ranks among the chain's top five in sales
While burger chains have long offered double drive-thrus, Pizza Patrón is among the first pizza chains to offer the amenity.
San Antonio, Texas, franchisee Chris Partyka earlier this year created a double drive-thru unit in a converted bank building that offers the chain’s Lista, or “ready now,” pizzas in one lane and customized orders in the other. The unit now regularly ranks among the 104-unit system's top five in sales.
“The double drive-thru was our franchise partner's idea,” said Andrew Gamm, brand director for Dallas-based Pizza Patrón. “It is very unusual for a pizza chain to adopt such an aggressive QSR-type model, and we wouldn't consider it without a very experienced and engaged operator.
Gamm added that Partyka had “a strong history of running excellent restaurants” as one of Pizza Patrón’s first franchise partners.
“We saw the double drive-thru as an opportunity to increase the convenience and speed for our Lista customers who might typically have to wait in line behind guests with custom orders,” Gamm said. “Our Lista customers now have their own lane, and the real challenge is predicting par levels during peak lunch and dinner periods.”
Customers have responded well to the double drive-thru, he added. The San Antonio location has one of the highest volumes in the Pizza Patrón system. “It took some time to educate the local consumer base about the new drive-thru process,” Gamm said, “but it appears to be running very smoothly now.”
Construction costs for the double drive-thru were about 10 percent higher than standard drive-thru locations because of additional sign and branding requirements, Gamm said. Typically, Pizza Patrón units require an all-in investment of $199,300 to $464,000 per store with a franchise fee of $20,000.
“The existing footprint required very little modification — just some engineering to manage flow and stacking for the addition of a drive-thru menu board,” he added.
The second drive-thru lane also requires an additional staff member during peak business periods to serve the custom-order lane, he said.
Pizza Patrón has other single drive-thru pizza units in end-cap locations in shopping centers with strong anchor tenants. The company said it looks for “a minimum traffic flow of 12,000 cars per day with convenient and easy access.” Ideal footprints are 1200 square feet, but Patrón can fit into 850 to 2,000 square feet.
Gamm said the company would consider other double drive-thrus. “It is a very viable option for the right franchise operator in our system,” he said. “If similar real estate becomes available and the unit economics work, the double-drive thru is a great model, but it does require a very experienced hand at the wheel if it is to be successful.”
Earlier this week, Pizza Patrón said it would roll out its new La Choriquezo pizza for a limited time on Sept. 1. Based on a well-known traditional appetizer from Latin American countries, La Choriquezo includes mozzarella cheese, chorizo sausage and onions on a base of Pizza Patrón’s original spicy ranch sauce. Every La Choriquezo pizza comes with a free side of jalapeños. The cost is $7.99 for a large pie, and it will be available through December.
Pizza Patrón has restaurants in seven states.