KFC Takes Fast Food Into The Future With A Solar-Powered Drive-Thru

Futuristic drive-thrus have been popping up across America. Last summer, Taco Bell launched a two-story concept in Minnesota that was created to minimize wait times (via TODAY). Named Taco Bell Defy, the store is equipped with video screens for ordering, an elevator to deliver food, and a vertical lift for customers who've ordered ahead. For those who prefer a traditional system, one out of four of the drive-thru lanes allows you to order from an actual employee.

In Texas, McDonald's kicked off its own conveyor-belt drive-thru in December 2022 (per Secret Houston). To optimize efficiency, one lane enables customers to order from their phones and receive their food without waiting in the digital ordering line. This location, which is primarily focused on to-go orders, doesn't have an option for a traditional experience.

Announced this week, KFC is putting its own spin on futuristic drive-thrus. No, this one doesn't include a digital ordering system or a conveyor belt, but rather another concept that will delight the environmentally conscious.

Solar panels will save KFC $400,000

KFC is looking to save money and the environment with a new-solar powered drive-thru in California (per Nation's Restaurant News). The company teamed up with Integrate Solar to cover its entire drive-thru line — an efficient solution for employees meant to work outdoors. "We needed a canopy over our drive-thru to protect our team members taking orders outside of the building," Stewart Restaurant Group co-owner Justin Stewart said. In the first year, KFC is expected to save $11,000, with a projected $400,000 in lifetime savings. To further profit from the investment, KFC will receive a 60% tax credit for installing the solar panels. In five years, this credit will refund the entire cost of the unit.

Per the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, solar panels are an effective way to combat climate change by reducing the impact of greenhouse gases. When installed, they intake energy from sunlight to create power for businesses, homes, and anywhere else they're correctly installed.