Wawa Is Opening Drive-Thru Only Stores and I Have Thoughts

Wawa Is Opening Drive-Thru Only Stores and I Have Thoughts
Photo:AP Images (AP)

The beloved tristate area convenience store chain Wawa announced on Thursday that it would be opening its first drive-thru only store in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

According to a press release, the store will only do drive-thru and pickup service where customers can order Wawa’s “most popular food and beverages, including value meals, combo meals along with coffee and specialty beverages.” The first store is set to open in December 2020, with a few more drive-thru stores following in New Jersey shortly after.

Given the country’s new socially distant, take-out lifestyle, giving buyers the option to stay in their cars while ordering their Wawa favorites makes sense. But as lifelong Wawa devotee, who grew up literally down the street from a store, I have some concerns. I have some grave concerns.

Wawa is known for its delicious in-store sandwich shop and historic high-tech ordering system, where you can customize a sandwich to your exact specifications, which is kind of the main draw of ordering food at Wawa (even though the coffee, baked goods, and pre-made breakfast sandwiches also rule!) It’s not clear what you’ll be able to order through the drive-thru yet, but if Wawa is committed to offering their “most popular food” then they have to mean the sandwiches, right? But adapting that to a drive-thru model will be difficult.

For the poor souls who haven’t had the opportunity to eat at Wawa, the store’s sandwich construction is fast and precise, but not as fast as, say, a McDonalds where you can just order a pre-made, numbered item. And that’s a good thing, it’s why the sandwiches are so good! You put your order in, which is specific down to how much or how little of a certain condiment you want, you grab your numbered ticket, grab the rest of your snacks, and pay for it all even before your sandwich ticket number might be called out. And while Wawa promises “state-of-the-art technology to quickly order Wawa’s most popular food and beverages” at the drive-thru, I imagine that it is still going to be a process and likely a longer drive-thru experience than most people are used to.

But honestly, who cares? As long as I get my sandwich I’m happy. I’d wait a thousand years for a Wawa sandwich. I can testify that 90% of South Jersey and most of Pennsylvania would gladly wait as long for a Wawa sandwich too. It’s just that good.

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