First ‘unmanned drive-thru’ restaurant in US to be introduced in Mississippi

Published 6:06 am Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Born out of frustration with bad service at a fast-food restaurant, one businessman has developed a restaurant with an unmanned drive-thru and will introduce his cutting-edge concept first to Mississippi.
Natchez is set to become the home of a revolutionary new quick service restaurant (QSR) concept, Speedy Eats, which promises to transform the fast-food experience with its fully automated, staff-free drive-thru.
This innovative establishment, founded by CEO Frederic “Speed” Bancroft, will offer a seamless, 24/7 dining experience, utilizing advanced technology for quick, efficient, and contactless service.
Bancroft posted on social media Monday evening that he had sold his first store to a Natchez businessman:
“Huge Announcement: it’s official, Speedy Eats has sold its very first store to Natchez, Ms entrepreneur, Tance HughesHughes!!!” the post on social media said. “The first location is going to be at the following location: 280 John R Junkin Dr. Natchez Ms.
The menu will be a combination of locally prepared meals, salads, wraps, subs, sandwiches, sides, beverages.”
“We should have everything permitted, and ready for delivery/installation in the next 90-120 days, pending permitting,” Bancroft wrote.



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According to the website, the idea for Speedy Eats was born from Bancroft’s frustrating encounter at a fast-food restaurant in 2015, where poor customer service spurred him to devise a tech-driven solution.

Speedy Eats can handle a variety of prepared meals, including salads, wraps, and cold-cut subs, all served in under two minutes using innovative packaging designed for safe microwaving. The system’s pick-up window can hold up to 10 meals at a time, ensuring quick service.

The first Speedy Eats location will be in Natchez, in partnership with a PJ’s Coffee franchise operator who owns prime real estate in the area. Before fully launching, Bancroft plans to conduct extensive software testing to ensure reliability. This innovative approach comes at a time when contactless service is increasingly sought after.

In addition to local operations, Speedy Eats aims to tap into the expanding meal prep industry, which is projected to grow from $17 billion to $25 billion in the next five years. The company is also exploring third-party delivery options and plans to focus on business-to-business marketing over the next six to nine months to secure further commitments.

The Speedy Eats model includes different store sizes, with a 20-foot store featuring 230 shelves and an installation cost of $179,000. The company takes a 7 percent share of sales. Each unit comes equipped with a mobile app, dashboards, cell signal, custom-built shelving, 75 percent fridge and 25 percent freezer space, an awning, AC, and an electric meter.