3 Ways to Improve the Efficiency of Your Fast Food Drive-Thru

Written by  on 17 May 2016

Order Confirmation BoardDrive-thru service can greatly expand a restaurant’s business by offering customers a faster and more convenient service, while taking some of the pressure off the front counter in the dine-in area. However, when not properly managed, the fast food drive-thru can turn into a bottleneck that frustrates customers and employees alike. If your drive-thru gets a reputation for being too slow, it can actually hurt your business.

The annual QSR Drive-Thru Performance Study indicates that customers don’t want to wait much more than 4 minutes in a drive-thru line. Top performer Wendy’s gets customers through the drive-thru in less than three minutes. While not every store may be able to match that performance, the right strategies can help speed throughput, improve accuracy, and maintain consistent service.

Here are three ways to improve the efficiency of your fast food drive-thru:

  1. Gather data to gauge your performance against your peers, and to compare location performance.

If you think your drive-thru might be experiencing some bottlenecks, take the time to measure your own performance. Drive-thru timers can automatically track how long each stage of the order and deliver process takes, while providing Web-based dashboard reporting and transaction-level detail.

If an order takes too long, managers can see exactly what part of the transaction created the bottleneck. If there are patterns in the data (slow processes, unexpectedly busy periods of the day, etc.), new processes and practices can be into place to speed things up. You can also measure staff performance, and create incentive programs for improvement.

  1. Make sure your fast food drive-thru is designed for efficiency.

Menu boards should be simply designed (no clutter), easy to see and simple to navigate. Pre-sell menu boards stationed before the actual order station can also help improve efficiency (by as much as 30 seconds, according to the QSR study) by allowing customers to figure out what they want before they get to the speaker.

Order confirmation boards also improve efficiency by ensuring accuracy of the order. As a bonus, confirmation screens can also be used to provide information on promotions and to upsell customers, based on their order contents. Avoid the temptation to over-use the screens for promotions, though; customers mainly want to make sure their order is correct, so avoid cluttering the display.

Fast food drive-thru speakers used to be the butt of jokes, but audio quality has improved immensely. Be sure your speaker system is working properly. If your staff can’t hear the customers, or vice versa, order accuracy is likely to plummet.

  1. Empower drive-thru staff.

Make sure employees at the drive-thru have ample time to commit to the customer, and train them properly to ensure quality service. Some chains also offer an hourly raise for drive-thru employees to help incent that superior service.

Multitasking also improves efficiency, so maximizing employee mobility and flexibility is critical. If your fast food drive-thru staff is tethered to stationary microphones, consider investing in wireless headsets. These hands-free systems allow staff to communicate with drive-thru customers while helping to prepare orders or while taking payment from other customers. During shifts with fewer employees on duty, these systems can help a single employee juggle multiple tasks. Just make sure staff is properly trained on how to use the devices before you deploy them.

The fast food drive-thru can play an important role in boosting revenue and increasing customer loyalty. By making sure your drive-thru operations are as efficient as possible, you can improve customer service while simultaneously increasing sales volume.

Order Confirmation Board ROI Brochure

Read 433 times Last modified on Wednesday, 01 June 2016 13:00

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