Starbucks Next Stop in the Drive-Through Revolution

Salt Lake City is the latest addition to the growing list of cities with a Starbucks drive-through constructed out of old shipping containers. The 386-square-foot store pictured here is scheduled to open today.

As Fortune reported in May, the container-as-coffee shop model is part of Starbucks’ push further into drive-throughs. About 900, or 60%, of the 1,500 new U.S. stores that the coffee company has planned for the next five years will be drive-throughs. Expect a good portion of those to be made from shipping containers.

There’s nothing new about using shipping containers in construction, but the fact that Starbucks(SBUX, +1.16%)  has gotten into the game signals that the use of the container as a building block has reached a new level.

“The container is no longer a fad,” says SG Blocks (SGBX) chairman and CEO Paul Galvin. “It’s a mainstream instrument of construction.”

Galvin’s company is one of Starbucks’ partners on the endeavor and has made a whole business out of repurposing old containers for construction. Galvin says he’s hearing more and more from blue-chip companies like Starbucks who are interested in using shipping containers. The fact that they’re green is a big draw—using the retired containers for construction takes them out of the waste stream.SG Blocks also is working on a project at Pier 57 in New York, where it will slide 456 shipping containers into the historic pier to house retail outlets.