Drive-in & drive-thru Halal dining new concept trend
Call it what you will, there’s something paradoxically exciting about this new dining-out-to-dine-in trend!
Covid restrictions have had a curious way of, not so much encouraging, as forcing the UK’s beleaguered food industry to innovate in the most unexpected ways in order to survive.
Perhaps the most exciting has been the introduction of what are known as drive-in services recently adopted by businesses across the food sector.
Claiming to be the country’s first, the most popular on social media at least has been Pakistani restaurant brand Spice Village‘s in London’s Croydon.
Rolled out (no pun intended) to coincide with the start of Ramadan (with prayer facilities also conveniently arranged), owner Suleman Raza revealed: “We saw a complete lockdown which resulted in a ban on dine-in and as a result, sales dropped, urging us all to think out of the box to deal with the prevailing uncertainty.”
Recognising that “the trend shifted from indoor/outdoor dine into car dine in”, Suleman says he “decided to create something that is simple yet revolutionary. An idea that disrupts the car dining experience”.
After much head scratching, his answer to the problem, which he describes as “the need of the hour”, came in the form of bespoke trays designed to snuggly fit the inside of any car.
“Not only does it add the restaurant dining touch, it also eases car dining for customers. How? Well no more placing plates on the dashboard and worrying about spoiling your car’s interior if you accidentally spill food,” he added.
Poultry meat, BBQ, and charity inspired drive-bys
Though perhaps not as elaborately organised as Spice Village’s, there have been other Halal and Halal-friendly businesses offering a similar experience.
Utilising a more modest eating tray, Bolton-based BBQ aficionado Eat Meat had been serving its Ramadan menu as part of an “exclusive drive-thru”, with limited spaces available in its private car park, all last week.
British-Afghan restaurant Cue Point in London’s Chiswick has also been pushed to create a BBQ drive-thru menu that’s available for prebooking on specific days of the week.
Meanwhile, two Michelin chef Atul Kochher’s fancy restaurant Kanishka in London Mayfair has made things that much simpler by delivering orders to customers immediately waiting outside in their car as part of what it calls its “drive-to” service.
A Halal poultry company in Birmingham introduced this concept as early as last year with customers encouraged to “avoid the shops [and to] come direct to us for all your fresh poultry”, with ‘direct’ being their factory slaughter house.
Claiming to be the “only poultry drive-thru in the UK”, Premium Halal have instructed customers to “beep the horn”, while remaining safely in their car, and “[w]e will come to you”.
There’s even an established UK-based charity that arranged a drive-thru yesterday as part of a fund-raising campaign to help Palestinians suffering in the Gaza Strip.
Islamic Relief’s “first ever Drive-Thru Iftar” event in Bradford involved a 3-course meal being handed to customers driving by as part of it described as an “outdoor dining experience”.
We then have Chaiiwala, a well known Indian street food cafe with multiple sites across the UK and abroad, having similar such plans in the exhaust pipe. “We are definitely thinking about it and looking at potential properties,” a representative told FtLion.
So whether they be dubbed a drive-thru, drive-to, drive-in, or drive-by, one thing is certain, there’s something paradoxically exciting about this new dining-out-to-dine-in trend.