Food news: Long drive-thru lines; Churchill’s scraps Southdowns site; BBQGuys’ first NIL project

Drive-thru wait times are growing

It’s taking longer to get drive-thru orders this year, as restaurants deal with labor shortages, USA Today reports. A study released recently by SeeLevel HX, a customer experience measurement company, found wait times for receiving a drive-thru order increased by more than 25 seconds in 2021.

The study classifies the total time customers wait for an order from the moment they enter the drive-thru to the moment they get their order.

The study found drive-thru customers waited an average of six minutes, 22 seconds. Last year, it was five minutes, 57 seconds. The research involved nearly 1,500 drive-thru visits between July and August 2021 to 10 major fast-food brands including McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A and Dunkin’. Read the full story.

Churchill’s pulls rezoning request for new Southdowns site

Churchill’s Wine and Cigars has scrapped its plans to relocate to the Acadian-Perkins Plaza. Last Friday, the establishment’s owner withdrew a rezoning request that was set to go before the Planning Commission this week, which would have cleared the way for the cigar and spirits retailer to relocate to the 9,000-square-foot Claitor’s Bookstore space in the retail center.

It’s unclear whether the deal fell through because of the Southside Civic Association’s opposition to new bars in the neighborhood or because of other issues. Churchill’s has a smoking lounge and small cocktail bar in its current Jefferson Highway location, which it will be forced to vacate in the coming weeks to make room for a new Ochsner elder care clinic. But the SSCA has consistently opposed any new bars in the area, and Acadian-Perkins Plaza owner Jon Claitor has previously said if Churchill’s leased the space, it could use no more than 850 square feet for a small tasting room. Read the full story from Daily Report.

College football athletes partner with BBQGuys for company’s first NIL project

BBQGuys, the Baton Rouge-based commerce retailer for grilling and outdoor living products, recently launched its newest line of “Victory” grills. To promote the product launch, BBQGuys is partnering with seven college football players, including LSU offensive lineman Kardell Thomas, to promote the grills on its Instagram.

“Food and football give us great reasons to celebrate, and we’re excited to welcome these talented athletes into the BBQGuys family to help showcase why our new Victory grills are so special,” said Jason Stutes, chief digital officer of BBQGuys, in a press release. “This partnership is our company’s first-ever NIL project and whether it’s on the field, on social media, or in your back yard, we can’t wait to celebrate everyone’s ‘Victory Dance’.” Find the full list of players and read more on the partnerships here.

Most businesses temporarily shuttered by COVID later reopened, according to Yelp

Yelp reports that 85% of businesses that temporarily shut their doors earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic have reopened, according to a new Yelp data report. Yelp also says that 439,094 new businesses opened the first nine months of this year, based on its data, topping the 433,243 that launched in 2019, before the pandemic began.

“For a vast majority of those businesses to reopen during the pandemic is a true testament to the perseverance and adaptability of those business owners,” Justin Norman, Yelp’s vice president of data science, tells USA Today. But the milestone “doesn’t fully capture the struggles many businesses continue to endure … amid worker shortages and volatile consumer demand due to recent COVID spikes triggered by the delta variant,” USA Today writes. Read the full story from USA Today.

These stories originally appeared this week in Daily Report. To keep up with Baton Rouge business and politics, subscribe to the free Daily Report e-newsletter here.

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