Austin seems to be a favorite test market for companies, mostly food and beverage operations. For a while there, it seemed like I was offered free samples from a different energy drink company every week and there’s always those cigarette people trolling the bars for new lung cancer victims.
Now, it looks like Wendy’s has decided to test locations without dining rooms and we’ve got one. It’s on the northbound frontage road of I-35 between 6th and 7th. I noticed it a few weeks ago while taking The Boy to school. I guess it’s a reasonable idea to intersperse locations with dining rooms with those that don’t, but I don’t think it’d be wise to switch over entirely. You can have a smaller staff and it probably saves on air conditioning costs by virtue of the smaller space. Since people don’t generally stay and spend more money at a fast food restaurant anyway, it doesn’t make much sense to offer an atmosphere that would encourage them to hang around, a strategy that works well at coffee places.
McDonald’s seems to have the opposite strategy. They’re adding things like wireless access (provided by local company Wayport), a move which seems odd to me since no one really wants to hang out a McDonald’s except kids under 12. It might work well at the locations with playgrounds, but otherwise it’s a waste of time and effort.
Thundercloud Subs has had that drive-thru location on S. Lamar for quite some time. I wonder how its revenues compare with other locations.
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