Along with increased demand for Vietnamese restaurants, The New York Times highlights other factors that raise the likelihood they will soon join the fast food spots clustered around interstate highway exists and fast-casual chains found in the business districts of many American cities. Drive-thru windows were adopted earliest and are used most broadly by fast food franchises, which paired with digital ordering and payments to meet the pandemic’s increase in demand for restaurants that minimized person-to-person contact (via FastCasual.com).
Hughies Tavern and Vietnamese Grille, located on West 18th Street in Houston, is one of several Vietnamese spots in the city that have opened drive-thru windows. The restaurant was formerly a Dairy Queen, but owner Paul Pham told The New York Times, “We are going to shift toward more of a Chick-fil-A type of concept.” Pham foresees expanding with new locations in areas outside of the city’s neighborhoods that have high populations of Asian residents while using technology to streamline customer service, as many fast food restaurants have done.
Kenny To, an owner of Canada’s first Vietnamese drive-thru concept, To Me Vietnamese Sub, pointed out that transitioning towards an American-style fast food concept makes sense because many Vietnamese dishes are portable and easy to package. He said the idea for his restaurant was inspired by the convenience of ordering coffee at the Tim Hortons drive-thru.