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A veteran of the restaurant industry is using the latest technology to give customers of almost any restaurant the convenience of a drive-thru takeout order. John Carlew has channeled his 37 years in the restaurant business and partnered with technology entrepreneur Chris Spradlin to create the DRIVE-THRU On Demand mobile app. The app is due to launch in Houston as a test before going nationwide.


DRIVE-THRU On Demand will allow smaller, family-owned restaurants to compete with national chains in terms of convenience. Instead of building new facilities to accommodate drivers who don’t want to leave their cars to get their food, restaurants that participate in the app’s program can take orders, prepare meals, and deliver them to the waiting customers with little to no change in their current operations.

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Carlew emphasizes that DRIVE-THRU On Demand is not in the food delivery business. Unlike some programs, such as Uber Eats, DRIVE-THRU On Demand does not require the restaurant to hire a driver and deliver the food to the customer’s home. Instead, the restaurant will receive a message alerting them that the customer is outside. An employee can deliver the food from the front door to the customer’s car, while the customer pays a $1.79 convenience fee regardless of the size of their order.

According to Carlew and Spradlin, the app is 95 percent complete. Their company is participating in a crowdfunding effort through Indiegogo to raise another $50,000 prior to launch. Donors can get pre-launch access, an opportunity to appear in a TV commercial, and referral payments for restaurants they nominate to participate in the program.

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Spradlin said that DRIVE-THRU On Demand combines the latest technology with convenience for the customer as a way of “redefining the traditional restaurant experience” and “giving consumers the convenience they demand without sacrificing the quality meals they want.”

New app turns regular restaurants into drive-thrus Jean-Marc Giboux /AP Images for S.Pellegrino
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