How the Drive-Thru Can Diversify the American Diet


Banh Mi sandwich close-up

photo: stomach (Shutterstock)

Vietnamese chef and cookbook author Andrea Nguyen recently commented on the THE TASTE Podcast that when the first wave of Vietnamese immigrants arrived in America after the Vietnam War, Vietnamese food “barely existed”. But the times have changed. As the Vietnamese population grew in the USso does the omnipresence of Vietnamese cuisine.

Then the pandemic happened, wipe out practically all social events the included food, some sort of collecting Vietnamese attach particular importance to this. But pandemic restrictions also gave restaurateurs like Sandy Nguyen and Cassie Ghaffar the opportunity to tap into a semi-obscure market: Journey-through ethnic cuisine.

Nguyen and Ghaffar are the owners of Saigon hustle and bustlewhich previously began in a ghost kitchen opening a brickand-Mortar site in Houston, Texas in February of this year. The restaurant recently won the $1 million bid from private equity firm Savory Fund, beating out 240 other potential winners. Her success story could To serve as a blueprint for others to follow.

Why drive-through concepts work

In a recent interview With Restaurant News of the NationNguyen and Ghaffar, best college friends who also own two other restaurants in Houston, echoed the idea that they were enjoying Vietnamese food (or ethnic cuisine in general) for the first time can be a daunting experience for many due to language and culture barriers.

“We had to find a balance to adapt to the American lifestyle,” they said. The answer? The Dthrough lane.

“The drive-through is less intimidating,” ghaffar said The New York Times. “It gives more people the opportunity to try Vietnamese cuisine.”

With a drive through Model to serve Vietnamese food—especially during a running one pandemic, whose social distancing rules and health regulations have permeated our lives for over an eternity 2 years-could be the key to Saigon Hustle’s power Success. People who wouldn’t have tried anything else that was new to themincluding consumers with special dietary needs or observers Gluten-free or vegan diet, may feel more inclined to try something new when they can just drive their car to a late-night restaurant.

Lots of dishes served at Saigon hustle and bustle Take on the fast-casual Convenience model similar to Chipotle. Kenny To, co-owner of To Me Vietnamese Sub in Calgary, Canada, repeated the same feeling for the Times.

“Vietnamese dishes like banh mi and spring rolls are portable and easy to pack… This makes them well suited to a drive-through format,” he said.

Location, location, location

Ma specific type of cuisine Making it more accessible to guests via drive-thru is just one piece of the puzzle. A restaurant’s success often depends on its location.

Houston is home to the third largest Vietnamese population in America, behind Los Angeles and San Jose. In addition, people identifying as Vietnamese are numbered 2.1 million in 2020 andS Census. So starting in Houston, is an advantage for Saigon Hustle. The city’s diverse cultural groups also serve as a platform that makes the restaurant possible to expand his Business.

What Saigon Hustle is do is not new, however how and Where it is it is to do. This isn’t the only chain trying to “Americanize” Vietnamese food. Other Vietnamese restaurants such as Mi Sant Banh Mi Co. . . . in Minnesota and both Yes Banh Mi and Hughies in Houston also operates a drive-thru Model. The result: varied dining options done a lot for Americans faster through the profitable little Window.


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