St Pierre's opening New Zealand's first drive-through sushi restaurant in Auckland

The first 500 customers to the drive-through window will get free sushi.
The first 500 customers to the drive-through window will get free sushi. Photo credit: Supplied / St Pierre's

Sushi chain St Pierre's is opening what it's calling New Zealand's first drive-through sushi restaurant in the Auckland suburb of Onehunga on Thursday.

The restaurant has been in the works for years, with media reporting the chain was initially going to open a drive-through by the end of 2018. By that point it had already been in the planning stages for a couple of years.

But an increasing set of obstacles put those plans on ice, said St Pierre's director Nick Katsoulis.

"Finding the ideal location was a bigger challenge than we realised. After searching in earnest for more than two years, we discovered this great piece of land," he said.

"Then, of course, along came COVID-19 and the lockdowns with all of the complications and delays that many businesses have been experiencing, including the construction sector.

"Finally, though, we're ready to go."

The drive-through, on the corner of Neilson and Ororke streets, promises orders will be complete in under a minute.

Katsoulis says he's thoroughly tested the speed and efficiency prior to tomorrow's opening and is satisfied with how fast it is.

"Just 50 seconds: That's all it takes for a customer to arrive, order, pay and drive away with their sushi of the day," he said. 

"The individualised orders that we do, including drinks, took our staff only three minutes."

Katsoulis and his brothers Perry and Costa established St Pierre's Sushi in 1984 and it now has 65 restaurants throughout the country, including 33 in Auckland with the new drive-through in Onehunga.

The first customers can also expect some free kai. After its 10am opening, 500 packs of sushi will be given away free to the first 500 customers who pull into the drive-through.

"We have very loyal customers and our openings always attract hundreds of people so we're expecting a big crowd tomorrow," Katsoulis said.

The company says an important factor in planning for customer satisfaction is special software it developed in conjunction with Mochi Digital.

"We needed to ensure we could consistently process orders at top speed," Katsoulis said. 

"Mochi has created software specially designed for our sushi menu including our range of complementary Japanese food items such as sashimi, seaweed salad and edamame beans, as well as drinks."