The leading fast-food operators in the UK are set to grow their drive-thru estates this year as they increasingly see it as a key area for expansion. Burger King currently operates 108 drive-thrus in the UK, but is looking to double this number, while Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) hopes to add 40 new sites to its drive-thru estate this year. KFC currently operates a portfolio of 320 UK and Ireland sites under the drive-thru format, with around 50% of its sales across its 800-strong estate coming from drive-thrus John Peach, head of acquisitions at KFC, told M&C Report: “In 2010 we opened 17 new drive-thru restaurants and this year we are planning up to 40 in total. We have seen a rise in demand and popularity of drive-thru restaurants, which reflect the changing dynamics of the retail sector.” Peach said that in a number of locations, the company would be relocating its existing restaurants to drive-thrus. Jim Johnstone, franchise development director for Burger King corporation UK & Eire, said: “The number of drive-thrus we have in the UK has marginally increased over the past few years, but there are opportunities to double this number. “In a fast-paced world where convenience is vital, we believe drive-thru is key to our continued success.” McDonald’s is looking to open up 30 sites a year under the drive-thru format in the UK. It is currently operates three sites in the UK with dual-lane drive-thrus and believes there is potential to roll this format out to up to 50 locations.