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NEW: Shake Shack to open drive-thru restaurant at Tysons’ Pike 7 Plaza

Shake Shack will be the occupant of a new drive-thru fast-food restaurant proposed for Pike 7 Plaza (8350 Leesburg Pike) in Tysons.

The tenant’s name was revealed at a public hearing held on Wednesday (Jan. 12) by the Fairfax County Planning Commission, which recommended approving a special exception request for the project.

Pike 7 Plaza’s existing restaurant offerings include Honeygrow, MOD Pizza, Panera, and more.

Property owner Federal Realty Investment Trust plans to construct a 3,600 square-foot building in the shopping center’s parking lot off of Route 7. It will be a sit-down restaurant with outdoor seating and a pick-up window, though drive-thru customers will need to order by phone beforehand.

“You’re not going to see folks…sitting in the drive-thru, perusing the menu, trying to figure out what they want, paying and ordering. That’s all going to happen ahead of time,” said McGuireWoods land use planner Michael Van Atta, who represented Federal Realty at the hearing.

The freestanding restaurant is expected to operate from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. with an estimated 10 to 15 employees per shift, county planner Mary Ann Tsai said. The drive-thru lane will accommodate 11 to 12 vehicles, but Van Atta suggested the lines will be much smaller because of the pre-order requirement.

The restaurant is part of Federal Realty’s efforts to adapt to dining trends accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which included the introduction of a contactless pick-up program at all of its D.C.-area shopping centers in May 2020.

“This new drive-through restaurant is needed in response to structural shifts in the retail economy that are really increasing the reliance on pickup options as a part of retail operations…particularly in the last couple of years,” Van Atta said.

Shake Shack has seen a sharp increase in coronavirus cases among staff during the current nationwide surge, affecting its hours, Chief Financial Officer Katie Fogertey told investors on Tuesday (Jan. 11), adding that she expected those trends to continue.

Known for its burgers and milkshakes, Shake Shack began as a hot dog stand in New York City and now boasts 275 locations around the world, including a spot on the Plaza at Tysons Corner Center.

The company is new to drive-thrus, debuting its first in Minnesota on Dec. 6, but it intends to expand that side of its business, with a goal of opening 10 drive-thru restaurants by the end of 2022.

“We opened our first-ever drive-thru locations in Maple Grove, Minnesota and Lee’s Summit, Missouri,” Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti said for the company’s fourth-quarter update. “Early results for these two Shacks are encouraging, and we look forward to continuing to expand our drive-thru footprint in the years to come.”

Shake Shack didn’t immediately return FFXnow’s request for comment.

Shake Shack is also adding traditional, sit-down restaurants, including at the Mosaic District. Fairfax County issued a construction permit and other approvals for the site this past fall.

To make room for the new building, Federal Realty plans to relocate electric vehicle charging stations across from Panera to another part of the parking lot. Landscaping and a ramp from Route 7 compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act would be added between the restaurant and the thoroughfare.

With the planning commission’s support, the project will now go before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for a public hearing and final approval on Feb. 22.

Photo via Bryce Edwards/Flickr

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