In a recent announcement via its website, Portillo's, a fast-casual restaurant brand known for its menu of Chicago-style favorites, said that it would be opening up its first pick-up only restaurant. Coming soon to Joliet, Ill., the restaurant will not have a dining room but will feature a three-lane drive-thru. While all of its restaurants include drive-thrus, and many of them feature a double drive-thru, the Joliet Portillo's will be the first with three drive-thru lanes. If a guest doesn't want to go through the drive-thru, they also have the option to order online or through its mobile app for pickup. Reportedly, the to-go only location will be 3,750-square-feet, or about half the size of a traditional Portillo’s.
"This new restaurant is unlike anything Portillo’s has ever done," said Portillo’s CEO Michael Osanloo. "We’re bringing the inside out in Joliet. With this new model, guests will get the signature Portillo’s experience with our unrivaled Chicago street food exclusively via our pickup and delivery channels. We know our guests enjoy the convenience of our drive-thru and delivery, so we’re excited to double down on those efforts.”
The brand, which began in 1963, currently has more than 60 locations in the United States and recently opened up its newest location in Orlando, Fla.
Portillo's move comes as drive-thrus, according to market research firm The NPD Group, are the key to the industry's future. Drive-thrus have always been the ultimate in convenience and speed but during the pandemic they were the lifeline for QSRs and fast casual brands. Consumer demand for drive-thru has spurred brands to revisit their store development plans, adding drive-thrus and contactless pickup options to their new designs. Panera is joining the list that includes Panera Bread's new next gen prototype, Shake Shack, Taco Bell Go Mobile restaurants, Starbucks and Chipotle, to name a few.