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Drive-through restaurants multiplying in O’Fallon

Three separate restaurants, each in a different ward and each with a drive-through, were on the agenda at the Jan. 14 City Council meeting.

Bill No. 7266 authorizes a conditional use permit [CUP] for Los Compass, Inc., to operate a Mexican restaurant with a drive-through at 2175 W. Terra Lane. That location is the end unit of the existing Peruque Crossing Shopping Center [location of a now-closed pharmacy]. Restaurant hours will be 11 a.m.-10 p.m., daily. The bill, sponsored by Ward 5 council members Debbie Cook and Katie Gatewood, was approved by a vote of 10-0.

Source: City of O’Fallon

Bill No. 7275 proposes a CUP for Mudslingers Drive-Thru Coffee to operate a coffee shop with a drive-through at 1240 Bryan Road. Business hours would be 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m.–5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The bill, sponsored by Ward 4 council members Jeff Kuehn and Dr. Jim Ottomeyer, was given a public hearing and first reading.

Source: City of O’Fallon

Bill No. 7276 proposes a CUP for Tacos 4 Life Grill to operate a restaurant with a drive-through at 2998 Hwy. K., the site in O’Fallon Crossing formerly occupied by Steak ‘n Shake. The operators plan to add a covered patio. Business hours would be 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and closed on Sunday. They would not be serving alcohol. The bill, sponsored by Ward 2 council members Tom “Duke” Herweck and Lisa Thompson, was given a public hearing and first reading.

Source: City of O’Fallon

The second reading and vote for passage of the latter two bills are expected at the Jan. 28 council meeting.

In addition to those drive-throughs, O’Fallon has had a number of restaurants open, be proposed and/or be in-progress in the past eight months including:

  • Sam’s Southern Eatery [no drive-through]
  • Starbucks on Bryan Road [drive-through]
  • Oberweis, a 3-in-1 restaurant with pizza, burgers and ice cream [drive-through]
  • La Juicy Seafood [no drive-through]
  • Dogwood Social House [no drive-through]

Asked if the pandemic has caused an increase in the prevalence of restaurants with drive-throughs, O’Fallon Economic Development Director Patrick McKeehan said, “Not really. Of the three on the Jan. 14 council agenda, two are taking over buildings that had a drive-through. In this case, the previous use was a pharmacy and a Steak ‘n Shake restaurant. It just makes sense to utilize them.” 

McKeehan said that nationally “about 70% of restaurants have the drive-through option, in part because a majority of them are fast-food and quick-serve businesses. That was true well before the pandemic.”

“Data from the restaurant industry has reported a trend toward smaller inside dining space and a greater focus on mobile orders. This will provide restaurants the opportunity to lower heating and cooling costs, eliminate some chairs and tables, reduce staffing needs, etc.,” McKeehan said. “I expect to see restaurants expanding their business model through mobile orders via an app or a phone call, more designated pickup spaces for curbside delivery, and a highly sophisticated drive-through system.

“Chick-fil-A is a perfect example.”

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