One of the silver linings of COVID-19 is that brands have found fresh ways to deliver traditional experiences. The scenario rings true for hospitality technology platform Resy, which last month created a drive-through event for consumers in Los Angeles that replicated dining out at a restaurant—from the safety of attendees’ vehicles. From Oct. 15-16 at The Hollywood Palladium, The Resy Drive Thru presented by the American Express Gold Card featured never-before-seen dishes from 10 of L.A.’s best chefs and restaurants served directly through the windows of consumers’ vehicles. The first-of-its-kind strategy ultimately attracted 600 people (at $95 a pop) over the course of the two-day event.
At the start of the experience, consumers first completed a contactless check-in, then drove through amusement park-style branding before arriving at the first stop on their journey. There, a designated waiter who was assigned to guide groups from “restaurant” to “restaurant,” introduced the chefs and served two takeout-style dishes from different restaurants through the vehicle’s windows. While they ate, attendees listened to a guided playlist that walked them through each course and featured music selected by chefs at each restaurant, helping to foster a “dining in” atmosphere.
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The setup was the same for the next four stops, and attendees walked away having eaten their way through a 10-dish collaborative tasting menu. A final stop provided attendees with a take-home food item. Along the way, surprise and delight moments kept things engaging. Like a roller skater crew that danced around the event twirling light sticks.
“It was really important for us that we didn’t lose bringing the joy of restaurants to people,” says Victoria Vaynberg, cmo at Resy. “We thought, what can we do that’s safe and going to feel like something we can accomplish in COVID, but is going to feel new and special and different than what’s out there and can bring what people are craving from restaurants to them.”
To deliver an elevated Drive Thru experience to American Express Gold Card members, Resy instituted a number of perks. In addition to access to pre-sale tickets, cardmembers could access a fast lane upon arrival at the event, and received an extra amuse bouche item from Kismet as well as a take-home item from The Apple Pan.
In addition to engaging consumers and supporting its restaurant partners through the event, the brand gave back. Together with American Express, Resy made a donation to chef Jose Andres’ nonprofit World Central Kitchen, an organization that serves meals to survivors of natural and man-made disasters. What’s more, local Drive Thru partner Hedley & Bennett donated 1,000 masks to World Central Kitchen’s efforts.
The health and safety of attendees, of course, was paramount throughout the event. To maintain a safe experience, Resy specially trained staff for the event, who administered fever screening, gifted a mask and hand sanitizer to each guest, enforced mask-wearing, made sure attendees stayed in their vehicles at all times, and paced the flow of traffic by developing time slots for entry to the experience—effectively creating a “ballet” of moving vehicles. Even food prep and food transfer required strict safety protocols, and packaging for each meal was individualized. The strategy will be the same moving forward, as Resy looks to expand its Drive Thru experience to other markets.
“We’re a brand for people who love dining, who love restaurants. We want to help them discover and enjoy the great restaurants that are out there,” says Vaynberg. “So creating experiences and events that you don’t get in everyday dining is a core part of what we do and that’s not going to change for us.” Agency: Shiraz Creative, Los Angeles.
Cruise through The Resy Drive Thru:
Photo credit: Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Resy