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Frank Mahony: Portillo's Drive Through Reform


Frank Mahony

Frank Mahony

Portillo's Drive Through Reform

8/15/2010   Comment on This

I got a salad recently at a Portillo’s Drive-Through. Not the most glamorous lunch, but for some reason, I had a taste for Caesar Salad dressing.

For those of you from Chicago, you know the deal with Portillo’s – the lines at Portillo’s are so long you think you should drive right past – but they have it covered...

Their food is reasonably good as fast food goes, but their real skill is volume. They gave up on those retarded drive through talking-menu aggravation-devices a long time ago.

Portillo's drive troughWhen it’s even a tiny bit busy, they deploy Portillo’s reinforcements out into the front lines of fast food battle with wireless head sets, cash, coin changers, numbered order tickets, wireless credit card processing units and foul weather gear if needed. At some locations the cars get to 15 deep and/or 2 wide - but the lines keep moving quicker than any drive through operation you’ve ever seen.

So, this time, the bag they handed me contained lots of paperwork...

I’m thinking, what is all this crap?

It turned out to be “take out” menus, catering menus, applications for employment – a big stack of stuff in the bag for one food item. Really odd.

It kinda reminded me of walking out of a hospital after having a blood test with all the paperwork and post care instructions, etc...

Then the light bulb went off...

What if you combined Portillo’s drive through efficiency with healthcare?

First, they probably would never let you order anything off their menu ever again – but beyond that, I think they could help with the speed and cost of healthcare.

I can just picture it now...

Drive-through Blood tests, drive-through x-rays, maybe even Drive through Plastic Surgery?


That’s some real healthcare reform.


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