The UK is relatively new to the drive-thru restaurant craze compared to the US. But the tide does seem to be turning. According to a report by P-Three, demand for drive-thru property has increased by 25% post-Covid as more brands look to expand into drive-by dining. The first UK drive-thru opened in Fallowfield, Manchester in the 1980s and since then, the options have increased and there’s now something to suit almost every taste.
Here’s our pick of the UK’s best drive-thrus:
Fast Food Favourites
If you’re looking for a quick drive-thru dinner, there are plenty of fast food options to tempt you. The original – and still the UK’s most popular – is McDonald's. It’s one of the most versatile choices on our list too; you can pick up a breakfast McMuffin, a classic cheeseburger, or a McFlurry ice cream on a warm day.
Prefer Burger King? McDonalds’ biggest rival is opening more drive-thru branches in the UK every day. Its options include its classic flame-grilled burgers as well as vegetarian-friendly halloumi and plant-based alternatives.
When you’re not in the mood for burgers, there’s always KFC. It recently entered the drive-thru market with its distinctive brand of finger-licking chicken. Take home a bucket for the whole family or treat yourself to a fiery zinger burger and creamy Krushem shake (the Milky Bar flavour is our favourite!)
Grab coffee on the go
Need something that’ll get your gears turning in the morning? Drive-thru coffee shops offer the best way to get your caffeine fix on the go.
Costa dominates the drive-thru space with 40 branches across the UK. They offer every variety of coffee you could ask for; cappuccinos, lattes, flat whites, americanos and more! For an extra boost, check out their new range, which includes sweetened coffees enriched with Vitamin B12, Zinc, and Protein.
If seasonal coffees make your heart sing, you’ll be pleased to know that Starbucks are already offering drive-thrus. You’ll find all their signature drinks on offer, including the famous Pumpkin Spice Latte, Gingerbread and Toffee Nut Lattes at Christmas, and Frappuccino ice blends in the summer.
A newer alternative to Costa and Starbucks is Tim Hortons. This Canadian chain is known for its doughnuts and Timbits – flavoured doughnut holes that are incredibly moreish. Doughnut flavours include Maple & Caramel, Boston Cream, Strawberry Cheesecake, Apple Fritter, and Original Glaze. The coffee menu is just as varied, offering everything from dark roast to French vanilla.
When you’re not in the mood for a full meal, there are plenty of drive-thru options that can still hit the spot.
The high-street favourite, Greggs, opened its first drive-thru outlet in Salford in 2017 and has now expanded to locations throughout the UK. Now you can pick up a hot sausage roll (or the vegan version), a doughnut, meat slice, or ice bun without leaving your car.
If doughnuts are your thing then Krispy Kreme is the drive-thru for you. There are eight branches in the UK serving fresh doughnuts daily. Pick up a dozen on the way to the office or treat yourself to an Original Glaze, Chocolate Sprinkles, Caramel Iced Ring, or Chocolate Custard.