Want fries with that'
FORT CARSON, Colo.-Construction crews work on the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Divison dining facility May 22. The facility, due to open in September, will include drive-through service.

FORT CARSON, Colo.-Two of Fort Carson's future dining facilities will give fast food restaurants a run for their money.

The 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, facility opening in September and 47th Brigade Combat Team facility opening in August 2010 will boast drive-thru windows to accommodate Soldiers and other customers who don't have time for a sit-down meal at the dining facility, according to William Kilmer, food program manager, Directorate of Logistics.

The drive-thru facilities also will benefit Soldiers who want to grab breakfast after physical training, since the PT uniform cannot be worn inside the facilities, he said.

"They can just grab something to go ... for breakfast instead of having to go home and take a shower so they can get their food and eat it before they go to work," Kilmer said.

"It's more for the single Soldiers to grab something really quick like at (a fast food restaurant), but for a lower cost."

Department of the Army civilian or contract employees authorized to eat at the dining facility also can use the drive-thru, Kilmer said.

The drive-thru will work much the same as any fast food restaurant, with a menu board and pick-up window.

"The queue area for the DFAC will hold 22 vehicles, so it shouldn't take them very long to get through the line," Kilmer said. "We'll time it. Once we open up, we'll see how long it takes a customer to get through. Then, we'll ... adjust it to get the Soldiers in and out quicker."

Menu items will consist of the short order meal choices available inside, including burgers, chicken sandwiches, chicken wings, pizza and salads to go, Kilmer said.

Customers pay for their meals at the cashier window either with a meal card or cash.. The facilities also will offer full dine-in service and "grab and go" takeout service, Kilmer said.

Although the concept is new to Fort Carson, it isn't so new to the Army. Such dining facilities are running and apparently working well, at Fort Riley, Kan., and Fort Lee, Va., he said.

Although he expects long lines when the facilities first open, the food program manager at Fort Riley told Kilmer that business quickly begin to dwindle.

"Initially they had a real high usage, and now it has tapered off," Kilmer said. "We have to watch that, so we can support the Soldiers. We'll have to get some new types of products in there, too, to keep them coming back."

The drive-thru service will initially run from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the facilities and the hours will shift based on interest, Kilmer said.

Kilmer said the drive-thru windows may be the look of the future for Army dining facilities.

"Most of the installations will probably go to the new concept, because it supports Soldiers," Kilmer said. "It depends on if the command group wants that type of facility or not and what the requirements are for the brigade-sized element. If it's a brigade-size and they have 3,500 Soldiers attached, then it's worth it."

With meal choices comparable to fast food places on post, Kilmer said he hopes the new facilities will attract more Soldiers to the dining facility.

"We'll try to capture all of the customers that go those places," Kilmer said. "The idea is to bring Soldiers to the dining facility so they can eat at a lower cost."

Page last updated Thu May 28th, 2009 at 17:13