business storefront pick up window

A Walk-Up Window Could Be The Fantastic Solution Your Business Needs

by | Aug 7, 2020 | Blog

The effects of COVID-19/Coronavirus have seen many businesses changing and adapting their operations, first to minimize threats to the safety and health of their employees and customers, and second to ensure their continued economic success.  It is unfortunate that some businesses are struggling just to maintain prior levels of sales, despite implementing innovative solutions that aid in minimizing exposure to germs.  While many business have seen the benefits of using curbside or in-store pickup, some of the temporary solutions that business have come up with are awkward at best– they just won’t be the most efficient solution in the long-term. Therefore, it’s likely that the trend of drive-throughs and pass through windows, where patrons can pick up their order without entering the establishment, isn’t going away anytime soon.  So, it makes sense for you to evaluate your business needs in order to determine if realizing a more more permanent solution to your storefront is a good option.


 To-Go Window Background & The Current Landscape


While this isn’t the first drive-through boom that has happened, ever increasing digital sales are propelling the need for drive-thrus and pickup windows to new heights.  If the actions of popular, nationwide food chains are any indication of where food service is headed, Chipotle’s implementation of a walk-up window in Chicago signals a change in the way restaurants are operating in response to the changing landscape. However, this type of innovation isn’t only applicable to food-service, it can be a good solution for businesses that sell all other types of goods, as they can manage orders and pickups from a window as well.  Businesses that have never before considered installing a carryout window might want to evaluate their situation and see if it would be wise to follow suit and keep up with their competition.


chipotle walk through window

Photo by Chipotle

walk up window photo via jester concepts by sasha landskov

Photo by Sasha Landskov, via Jester concepts

 Storefront Window Benefits


  1. Increased visibility due to higher store front activity
  2. More environmentally friendly than a drive-thru window
  3. Complexity varies, but a walk-up is typically logistically easier to implement than a drive through
  4. Capture more foot traffic business from passers-by
  5. Increases efficiency and sales/service capacity, which translates to a better guest experience
  6. Increased business flexibility/adaptability
  7. Safer and more sanitary operations for customers and employees, especially for businesses with small interior space
  8. High return on investment
  9. Extended possibility for branding and business exterior customization
  10. Option to test separate brand concepts
  11. Maximize your commercial space potential by capitalizing unused space



taco window photo by

Photo by

walk up window photo by all day baby

Photo by All Day Baby

walk up window photo by sarah pitts robinson

Photo by Sarah Pitts Robinson

Transaction Window Planning & Implementation


If you’ve decided that your business needs a walk-up window, you may be unsure of how to go about getting one installed.  Of course, that’s where hiring Emerald Inc. comes in. But first, there are several things to think about before moving forward with design and installation:

  • Do you have permission from the landlord to make the modification?
  • Do you have the budget to pay for the window?
  • Where should it be located?
  • What building codes and regulations apply?
  • What type of window you want? What Features?
  • How big do you want it to be?

You may face some resistance when approaching the landlord or property owner/manager with the idea of installing a window, so be prepared to explain why it is needed and how you plan to manage its implementation and operation.  You can expect to pay at least around several thousand dollars for this solution.  But, the investment will probably be well worth it– it’s likely the window will quickly pay for itself after several weeks or months of increased sales due to another option for customers when it comes to ordering and pick-up. Don’t forget to research all applicable rules, such as whether or not you need an air curtain or if you need a special license.

mudgies deli walk up window by greg mudge

Photo by Greg Mudge

walk up window at pirates fish and chips in mesa arizona

Here is an Emerald Inc. project that featured a walk-up window– Pirates Fish & Chips in Mesa. In Arizona, the great weather we have for a large portion of the year makes outdoor transaction windows with patio seating a logical choice.  We have seen many businesses use them successfully, such as Dutch Bros., Salad & Go, Joe’s Barbecue, etc.

Gadzooks Enchiladas & Soup in Tempe is another Emerald Inc. project that features a walk-up window.

Gadzooks Enchiladas Tempe Walk Up Window



The benefits of a walk-up or drive-thru window for your business are clear– they can streamline sanitary ordering and pickup and support social distancing.  If you are limited by the amount of customers you can safely accommodate inside your establishment and want to alleviate that bottleneck by adding a pick-up window to your storefront, call us today so that we can go over all of the options! You can reach us at 480-832-9808, or email us, and as soon as you do we can setup a meeting to understand your needs, come up with the best, cost-effective solution, and put together a comprehensive bid for your project.

walk up coffee to go window