McDonald’s Drive Thrus Are Your Best Friend On A Road Trip

What with its being the seventh largest (by area) country in the world and having a coastline of 7,517 kilometres, along with a network of national highways which connect the North of India to its South, it’s no surprise that more and more Indians are being drawn to the idea of road trips. Your social media feed, therefore, is very likely filled with photos of friends who did a ‘gorgeous drive’ through the Himalayas, or an exciting bike trip down South. The photos may be so beautiful that you find yourself inspired to go on a road trip yourself.

But wait. Before you set out, you need to consider a few factors. Safety, for one – can your vehicle handle the many kilometres?  And, most importantly, where are you going to eat when you’re traversing the country? Sure, there are lots of dhabas along the highway but do you don’t really need the added stress of worrying about hygiene and menu options while driving.

Luckily, back in 2001, McDonald’s India introduced a solution for you; the Drive Thru. After opening its first outlet in the Drive Thru format in Noida in 2001, McDonald’s has taken the drive thru to highways and cities pan India.


Before we get to why the Drive-Thru is a heaven sent concept, here’s a little background.

McDonald’s Drive Thrus: The History  

The McDonald Brothers, Dick and Mac opened the first Drive-In restaurant in 1948 in California, while in 1975 McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc opened its first Drive Thru in Arizona, near a military base. This was to cater to soldiers who weren’t allowed to step out of their car when wearing military fatigues – McDonald’s employees simply handed them their meals through their car windows.

Today, while customers are still served fare in their cars at the drive through section, many Drive Thrus across the world also have seating options along with other amenities. In Sweden, there’s even a McSki-Thru, where customers can ski-thru the outlet and pick up a takeaway.

Drive Thrus In India

After the Noida Drive Thru was opened, Kalamboli, on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway got a second Drive-Thru under the management of Westlife Development Limited’s direct subsidiary, Hardcastle Restaurants.

As of June 30th, 2016, McDonald’s West and South India has 242 restaurants, and a significant base  of which are Drive Thrus. Most of these Drive Thrus are either free standing restaurants in cities or Gold Standard Drive Thru restaurants on national highways with a minimum of 20 car parks.


Recent areas to get Drive Thrus were Rajkot, Bharuch, Hubli, Thrissur, Palakkad, Kochi, Mumbai-Virar to name a few, and Hardcastle Restaurants has a vision to operate 450-500 restaurants by 2022, focusing on various formats including Drive-Thrus and highway restaurants.

Additionally, the 7th Pay Commission just passed the Model & Shop Establishment Act which will allow brick and mortar shops to be open 24×7. This event will allow McDonald’s stores to remain open post 11 pm on highways to cater to a larger number of customers.

Drive-Thrus: A Traveller’s Friend

McDonald’s plan to expand its number of Drive-Thrus reflects its commitment towards modernising customer experiences and broadening accessibility. With the presence of Drive Thrus across the country on highways, travellers will be assured access to a range of amenities while travelling.

The Drive Thrus offer comfortable, air conditioned restaurants with a range of meal options for customers to relax after a long day on the road.


They also have hygienic separate male and female restrooms – a welcome amenity for many travellers. Many Drive Thrus have designated play areas where children can use up their bounds of energy to make for a more relaxing travel experience for both them and their parents. Finally, safe parking areas allow drivers to get out, stretch their legs, enjoy a meal and refresh themselves for the drive ahead.

Of course, the Drive Thrus offer all the comforting, familiar meal options that customers enjoy back home, from the Maharaja Mac to the McVeggies to their world famous fries. McDonald’s India keeps in mind cultural sensitivity by ensuring that vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare is prepared separately and is also committed to extremely high standards of quality, ensuring that a traveller can enjoy hygienic, delicious meals when on the go. Its quick service and convenient packaging allows travellers in a hurry to pick up their food and eat it in their cars.

With large golden arches at their entrances and highly visible exit roads on highways, McDonald’s Drive Thrus are made wonderfully easily to spot.


Additionally, a quick search for McDonald’s Drive Thrus on Google Maps gives a traveller easy directions to the nearest ones.

A First Hand Traveller’s Account

We’re not all talk and no travel. The McDonald’s Blog, which captures some of the most heart-warming moments at McDonald’s, both among customers and employees, has a first-hand account entitled “On The Highway: A Drive Thru Story”, where the protagonist and his family were driving to the Bangaloreairport. The protagonist was a few hours away from leaving the country for further studies. At one point, the family stopped at a McDonald’s Drive Thru and the protagonist reminisced:

“The Golden Arches loom ahead. I know we will stop here. We have done that so many times before. Mama likes to go here for, of all the things, the clean loos. She is quite finicky about everything. But it’s probably got more to do with her fastidiousness about having pure Veg food. And her love for western food. She likes her McAloo Tikki burger that she picked up during her days in Mumbai. We don’t ask her anymore what she wants to order. Though nowadays, she is adding wraps to her plate. And sometimes finishes off with a McFlurry. Dear Mama. And there is Dad. The French Fries man. I think he even tried to hunt down the potatoes that make those fries so he could have a year long supply at home. Always protective about his fries. How I will miss his insistence that he wants his French Fries all for himself. They almost built a campaign for him – won’t share my fries.

The SX4 scrunches into the driveway. Ample space. Dad hates to have the car squeezed in between the others. This stopover suits him very well. Just the right distance from Mysore, just enough space to park and stretch his legs and an easy pace. Kavya is out of the car like a shot. If there was a little carnivore on legs, it was her. She was one of those that had an insatiable appetite for all things meat. I look at Mama. She seems to be suddenly reminded of all the times when we stopped here. Like the time when I had walked into the McDonald’s kitchen to check how the McEgg burger got that golden look. Or the time we all sat down and sang songs to Shake Shake fries.”

Just like this protagonist recollects, the McDonald’s Drive Thrus has been instrumental in creating a plethora of experiences for travellers. Thanks to McDonald’s Drive-Thrus, a traveller has one less worry when on a road trip – with their strategic locations across the country you can be sure to find a variety of amenities including clean bathrooms, a comfortable seating area and – most importantly –  quality food at great value while travelling on-the-go!



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