Popular sushi restaurant chain St Pierre's is set to open a drive-thru sushi store in Auckland by the end of the year.
The drive-thru store, at a yet-to-be-disclosed location, is yet to receive resource consent approval from the council and will cost approximately $1 million to develop.
St Pierre's co-founder and marketing director Nick Katsoulis said the idea for the drive-thru store - a New Zealand, and potential world-first - had been in the pipeline for the past three to four years.
"We've been thinking about it for a very long time, and it is something that our customers having been asking about for ages," Katsoulis said.
"There was a lot of planning to do for the drive-thru, which meant that it is going to take a lot longer than we expected, which is unfortunate, but we do think that the location needs something unique to make people go there.
"We think the drive-thru will be a unique point of difference."
Katsoulis said he expected the new store to be well-received.
"We may have to adapt our product a little bit or invent new products so that people can maybe eat while they are driving," he said.
"There's a lot of mothers with small children that I think will like it."
St Pierre's began in 1984 in Wellington as a seafood delicatessen.
Katsoulis and his two brothers, who were teenagers at the time, were inspired by a postcard of a food deli at upmarket department store Harrod's.
"There was so little awareness of what sushi was in those days," he said.
"In the early days it was very tough, demand was very small, but being in five shopping malls [eventually] gave sushi a lot of exposure."
The sushi chain is now arguably the most popular sushi brand in New Zealand, which Katsoulis puts down to the nature of the food.
"Sushi is an extremely shareable food, its a bit like a pizza.
"As a food, I think the fact it can be shared is one of the reasons why its popularity has increased a lot faster than other foods."
St Pierre's is currently working on introducing eco-friendly packaging for it products, made with wheat grass and corn base, commonly used in the UK.
Last year it opened 10 stores and is set to open another in Queenstown this year.
Katsoulis hopes to open more drive-thru stores if the first is well-received.
There are 53 St Pierre's stores nationwide.