Thomas tickled pink after opening of drive-through restaurant
Bermuda’s first American-style drive-through restaurant since the days of the McDonald’s on the old US Base opened to fanfare yesterday with more than 60 new staff on the books.
Pinky’s Drive-Thru on Middle Road, Devonshire, had a trial by fire during its test run on Monday and Tuesday when new were met with an unexpected deluge of customers, according to business owner Marico Thomas.
“It got a little hectic,” Mr Thomas said. “We had a traffic jam – we didn’t invite that many people and didn’t know where they all came from.
“But by the third session, the staff knew what to expect – the adjustment they made was tremendous.
“We actually ran out of food, there were so many people that came. We had people on pedal bikes, emergency service vehicles; I saw a crane truck in line, pedestrians, and we had a bus with about 15 or 20 people on board come through.”
The starting menu runs from coffee, tea and hot chocolate with doughnuts, to salads, chicken tenders and nuggets, and varieties of burgers and fries.
The eatery serves milkshakes and ice creams – with a children’s menu on offer.
Macaroni and cheese, beef chilli and wraps are also served.
Mr Thomas said the “live test” of Pinky’s, which included traffic control, meant sending private messages to business colleagues “inviting their staff with vehicles to come through”.
“What transpired was employees told their friends, it ended up posted online – it was wild.”
New and untested staff had to scramble to keep up with traffic, but Mr Thomas said they met the challenge.
“From a staffing point of view, this is all about Bermudian jobs. We had over 300 people apply in February and we had a jobs fair, where in that day and a half alone we had 150 people apply.
“We hired more than 50 people from the jobs fair alone and so far we have only lost three. We have probably 65 people on our schedule right now.”
He said Pinky’s would release its entire menu over the next couple of weeks and look at rolling out breakfast options, extra hours and days of the week in the weeks ahead.
“It’s kind of like putting up a kite,” Mr Thomas said. “You don’t let out all the string at once.”
Pinky’s Drive-Thru has taken over the old site of the Howard’s Mini Mart, with a lot that can hold 20 cars – requiring staff to handle the entrance and exit as well as “helping people to navigate the site, make sure everybody is comfortable and safe”.
Mr Thomas said the establishment was “American standard – this could compete against any US-style operation”.
Depending on orders, he aims to have vehicles served as quickly as a minute to 90 seconds.
“There’s a magic to how this works and there are three things I care about: quality, safety and speed.”
Other establishments in Bermuda have served drive-through customers, but Mr Thomas said Pinky’s marked the first of its kind seen in decades on the island.
“To be technical, there was a drive-through McDonald’s on the old US Base. It was American property but it was on the island of Bermuda.
“There have been variations on this concept before but ours is an advanced concept. There’s a lot more to come.
“We’ll be letting this kite out slowly over the next six weeks.”
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