What Can Your Drive Thru Do For You?

by Ashley Timmerman | Consumer Insights on December 1, 2011

in L&S, Quick Service Restaurants

QSR Magazine released the list of “100 Ways to Improve Your Drive Thru,” with categories in Customer Service, Management, Look and Feel, Technology, Operations and Design. With speed and accuracy as the top drive-thru characteristics a consumer demands, quick-service restaurants should stay on top of their drive-thru experience not only to ensure satisfaction, but also to offer a point of differentiation.

I pulled my 13 favorite tips, but click here to see the full list.

  • Who wants to eat a salad by hand or use his dry-cleaning receipt as a napkin? Provide the appropriate amount of napkins, utensils, and condiments.
  • Offer breakfast. According to Technomic’s 2009 Breakfast Consumer Trend Report, 22 percent of consumers named the availability of drive-thru service as one of the top three reasons they visit their preferred breakfast restaurant.
  •  Drive-thru staff should start the ordering process rather than relying on guests to initiate the order.
  • Clean the windshields of waiting cars. No one does this, which is precisely why you should.
  • Hire for personality. Engaging, articulate, and naturally pleasant personalities are specifically effective in the drive thru.
  •  Appoint a troubleshooting staff member who is capable of stepping in wherever necessary to fix drive-thru issues.
  • From litter on the ground to hazy windows, dirty and ill-maintained drive thrus negatively impact consumer confidence.
  • Install a trashcan with an extended chute next to the lane, a simple product customers universally value.
  • Use an order-confirmation screen. Providing the customer a visual rundown of the items ordered and the final total helps certify accuracy. Better yet, an order-confirmation screen is routinely cited as one of the top drive-thru improvements consumers want to see.
  • Installing noise-reduction technology at the order post minimizes customer angst while improving speed and order accuracy.
  • Grant customers the ability to place an order ahead of time, by phone or online, and pick it up in the drive-thru lane.
  • On-the-go, multitasking drive-thru consumers want packaging that keeps food safe and contained. Identify packaging that protects the product and the customer’s lap.
  • Institute a special drive-thru value meal complete with drive-thru-friendly items easy to eat while driving.

More than 60% of revenue comes from the drive-thru in the quick-service restaurant business, so implementing these improvements can help keep  drive-thru lanes full and help increase revenue. What improvements would you most like to see?


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