Roadside developments are one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK. It may feel like we are just following the Americans but the reality is the sector has swept the globe and continues to innovate for the future. Roadside developments and drive-thru developments may feel like an emerging trend but can you name a county without one? Even places of outstanding beauty have innovated to bring the local farm shop to be a roadside service area and tourist attraction.
So why should you consider creating a roadside development?
Stood The Test of Covid
Roadside developments may have seemed like the worst hit when the cars disappeared off the roads for all but essential travel in March 2020 but they were also one fo the quickest sectors to recover. As soon as drive-thru restaurants had their covid procedures in place and their supply lines were back up and running towns, cities and retail parks were plagued with extensive queues.
This may have given drive-thru’s some bad press at the time but it actually shows how much these facilities have become part of the every day lives of families across the country. What was once considered a luxury to us ten years ago such as a burger meal or a specialist coffee now seems to be an essential part of our routines… and a pandemic wasn’t going to keep us from them.
People Want an Easy Life
We don’t present this in a bad way. There are days when time runs away from us and we just can’t fit in a meal out, or we’ve forgotten to do the shopping or maybe the home shopping delivery substituted your chicken with toilet duck? Drive-Thru lanes attract everyone from those on their way home from work, taxi service to outdoor sports and even the late night attendee happy to order from their car in the comfort of their pyjamas. At the end of the day people want easy access and all the better if you can give them the option of popping in or staying in their car.
The demand for convenience food
According to Statista.com the average spend on eating out per person in the UK has risen from £10 per week to £15 per week. This trend looks set to continue post Covid. Developers and Entrepreneurs are constantly looking to innovate in ways to get their products to consumers meaning that customers aren’t just faced with the same choices.
The small local coffee shop established their brand and is now working on fitting out a container with a drive-thru lane whilst a local curry house is exploring the option of serving thali meals on a drive-thru basis. The sector is changing to meet our changing taste and demands and welcoming more global brands to the UK.
Gaps in provision
For anyone who has ever been driving along and thought ‘I could do with a coffee’ but couldn’t find an outlet then a roadside development may be the solution. Spotting gaps in provision is a great way to locate suitable land for development as applications may be looked on more favourably if alternative local provision isn’t available.
Not just drive-thru
Roadside developments aren’t just drive-thru units. They can be farm shops, tea rooms and tourist spots that have tapped in to the roadside sector. You don’t have to create a drive-thru to provide a great customer experience, but it is always worth exploring if it would help to increase your offering and entice more visitors.
One of the biggest changing trends we have seen is the reduction in use of large car parking areas in places like supermarkets, retail parks and shopping centres. Innovators in the roadside industry have been quick to explore if this land can be repurposed to provide drive-thru restaurants and coffee shops. After all the development will definitely be situated next to it’s target audience – the car user. Where will the next entrants to the sector identify excess land due to change of levels of use?
Elephant in the room or an opportunity? With a sector reliant on the motor vehicle it may seem odd to some to see it still as a growing sector but with change comes opportunity and innovation. With a target for electric cars to be the main vehicles on the road, charging stations need to be provided. The big petrol stations and roadside facilities are already including provision for EV charging but their main focus isn’t on providing the facility to charge… it’s how the driver with spend their average of 20 minutes waiting to get back on the road. The sector will need to provide more enticing offerings for drivers to choose their facility to stop at. There will still be a mix of people travelling for business and for pleasure so how will they accommodate both of these audiences at their facilities?
As you can see there is plenty to consider when choosing the roadside sector and it can feel a little overwhelming with so many innovations on the horizon. Dynamic Transport Planning use their in-depth knowledge and huge bank of expertise in roadside facilities, petrol filling stations and drive-thru units to help guide you through the process and create the best site for you and your customer. Find out more about our Roadside Expertise or Contact Us.