What is the “drive”?

The “drive-through”, is a service initially offered by fast food restaurants that allows consumers to be served while staying in their car.

After developing widely in North America as early as the 1940s, this distribution formula has spread to the rest of the world, especially in Europe in the 1980s among fast food chains.

The most recent development applies to the sale of FMCG products and allows the consumer to drive to a defined delivery site to load his purchases in his car, after having placed his order via a website.

Car withdrawal in FMCG

With the rise of information and communication technologies, the drive-thru formula is expanding to include services other than catering, particularly in FMCG distribution and is experiencing a spectacular development in France. In September 2017, the 4,226 French pick-up points generated about 5% of all food sales with an average of 12,000 SKUs.

Its origin in France is generally attributed to Auchan in 2000 with the Auchan Express of the Leers Hypermarket (59).

Principle of operation

The service is offered to consumers previously registered, generally on a website created for this purpose. The consumer’s order can be placed online, through a terminal, or directly at the car collection point. Payment is made electronically (mobile phone, credit cards) online at the end of the order or at the collection point.

To pick up his purchase on the agreed date, the consumer goes to the pick-up point and upon presentation of a proof of purchase an employee loads the groceries directly into the trunk of the car, with a waiting time of only a few minutes.

Typology of drive locations

Several formulas coexist:

  • Independent drive

This type of location works autonomously, without any connection with a store. Its implementation. In France, the usual surface of such a drive is 4,000 to 5,000 m2, including about 2,000 m2 for buildings and 2,000 to 3,000 m2 for roads.

  • Attached drive

This type of drive is built next to a store but operates autonomously. The offer is generally less extensive than that offered in the adjoining store.

  • Store picking drive

In this formula, the products come from the already existing store. Only a road and parking area is reserved for the “drive” activity. Missing products are more common with this type of drive as customers in store can take the last available products before the order is prepared.

  • Pedestrian drive (click and collect)

This type of drive is intended for pedestrians and not vehicles, but the principle of operation remains the same. It is usually located in city centers on surfaces of 60 to 200 m² and supplied by an already existing peripheral store. Still poorly represented at the beginning of 2020, the model has been a great success during the Covid-19 pandemic and especially during the containment phases.

  • Drive with withdrawal locker

This system makes it possible to recover groceries 7 days a week, 24 hours a day via a temperature-controlled locker for fresh or frozen products.


More insights on our blog:

Explore our website:

Reach your targets
Discover our services

contact icon contact icon