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Bay area Burger King franchisee pioneers drive-thru design; it's catching on chain-wide

Speed of service is king at fast-food restaurants, especially in the drive-thru.

After Quality Dining Inc., the fourth largest Burger King franchisee in the U.S., acquired 55 BKs in the Tampa Bay area two years ago, the company decided to use this market as a test bed for drastically improving drive-thru service.

The gist of their strategy: the double drive-thru. With a wrinkle: Each restaurant has an "access door" that enables staffers to deliver bags to customers in line.

"That way, if you have a special order or a longer cooking time, you never have to ask the guest to pull out of the line, and the cars behind them don't have an extended wait," said Quality Dining CEO Dan Fitzpatrick, adding that he knows of no other major drive-thru restaurant that also employs hand delivery.

Indiana-based Quality Dining recently opened its 25th Burger King with twin drive-thru lanes at 611 South Dale Mabry in Tampa. The company acquired the unit from longtime owner Al Jones in mid-December, then immediately set about demolishing the existing structure and building anew. The unit opened Feb. 27.

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