Speeding Up Drive-Thru Service

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How fast is your drive-thru? The answer could have a tremendous impact on the bottom line of your quick-service restaurant— or QSR — and on your ability to thrive in a demanding environment. As the owner or manager of a QSR, you may already know that drive-thru sales comprise about 70% of fast food sales, accounting for billions of dollars for the industry every month. The speed at which your customers are able to navigate your drive-thru affects not only customer satisfaction but your overall profitability. A faster drive-thru experience means happier patrons, better word of mouth and the ability to serve more customers, which could result in larger profits.

There are a number of ways to increase the speed of your drive-thru window. Consider first the ease with which patrons can order. How visible is your signage from the customers’ cars? Large, legible displays with photographs can make ordering faster. An order confirmation screen can also reduce possible errors and speed up overall service, as visually reviewing an order is quicker than listening to the cashier repeat each item.

Additionally, when a customer wants to change his or her order, the cashier must enter that change manually. This takes more time and effort, causing the patron to sit in line longer, which could lead to dissatisfaction. When the cashier has access to an order recall screen, however, he or she can address that specific change without having to delete an entire order and re-enter it.

Payment and food delivery is another step that could be accelerated for faster drive-thru service. First, automatic windows can save time and make it easier for cashiers to deliver food to a customer. Second, while debit and credit cards may take less time to process than cash, not all customers rely on plastic for purchases. Cash transactions tend to take longer than credit or debit because of the handling of money and making of change.

To expedite the latter, choose a POS (point of sale) system that includes a fast-tender feature to predict the amount of cash the customer may pay.  This allows the cashier to tap the appropriate button instead of entering the entire amount of cash offered; the display then automatically produces the correct amount of change. Ultimately, this technology can make cash transactions faster and improves the accuracy of change given.

One of the best and rapidly growing options to streamline order delivery is the adoption of digital technology through an online store or an app. These new methods of service delivery alleviate the time and the possibility of mistakes in placing an order while also eliminating the payment process at the restaurant to help increase both the speed of service and throughput in the pick-up or drive-thru lane.

For more information about the importance of speed in your drive-thru, check out the accompanying resource.


Guide created by Quikserv, a leading provider in drive thru windows

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