40 Tips to Improving Your Drive Thru Communications, Service and Your Bottom Line

40 Tips to Improving Your Drive Thru Communications, Service and Your Bottom Line

Make your drive thru more efficient and a better experience for your customers with these tips.

  1. Greet customers with a friendly, enthusiastic, two-part greeting. “Welcome to Chicken Land. May I take your order?”
  2. “Please” and “thank you” spark feelings of appreciation and build loyal customers.
  3. Direct drive thru team members to share sincere smiles and make eye contact with guests.
  4. People love their dogs, and distributing treats (although not alongside human food) can be a simple effort to distinguish your operation.
  5. Who wants to eat a salad or buffalo chicken by hand or use whatever receipt that is handy as a napkin? Provide the appropriate amount of napkins, utensils and condiments. However, it’s important that team members don’t grab handfuls of napkins and condiments – this happens a lot.
  6. Customers are clamoring for healthier options in the quick serve restaurant sector, so showcase items that incorporate a healthy message.
  7. Place the order post as close to the customers as possible to enhance the ease of two-way communication.
  8. Greet the customer within five seconds of the car stopping at the order post.
  9. Drive thru staff should start the ordering process rather than relying on guests to initiate the order.
  10. Visit your own drive thru to see the process from a customer’s eyes. Use your phone to record a video and review and study the experience.
  11. Learn and improve by taking the lessons of drive thru visits to heart. Be objective and strategic in analyzing strengths and weaknesses. The ultimate goal is to be professionally aware, not personally correct.
  12. Employee recognition and incentive programs for both speed and accuracy can motivate staff to provide swift service.
  13. Hire team members for personality. Engaging, articulate and naturally pleasant personalities are specifically effective in the drive thru.
  14. Make drive thru positions coveted spots. With greater responsibility, provide a greater reward, such as a higher wage.
  15. Appoint a troubleshooting team member who is capable of stepping in wherever necessary to fix drive-thru issues.
  16. Brainstorm improvement ideas with the entire team.
  17. From litter on the ground to hazy windows, dirty and ill-maintained drive thrus negatively impact consumer confidence.
  18. Not only do well-lit areas allow guests to better read menuboards and instill a sense of safety, but brightness has a positive impact on people.
  19. Maximize the distance of Dumpsters and exterior bathrooms from the drive-thru lane to limit unpleasant odors.
  20. Ensure the menuboard reflects current pricing and menu items.
  21. Clean the menuboard. Make it shine.
  22. Enhance visibility by having lights directly on the menuboard after sundown. A customer who can’t discern the menu is likely to order less or leave.
  23. Drive thrus often allow customers a look into behind-the-counter operations as they await their order. A clean restaurant inspires confidence
  24. Install a trashcan with an extended chute next to the lane, a simple product customers universally value.
  25. Installing canopies over the menuboards makes signage easier to read in bright sunlight and keeps customers dry in bad weather.
  26. If you aren’t already using one, now is the time to 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.
  27. Use a modern, high-quality speaker system.
  28. Installing noise-reduction technology at the order post minimizes customer angst while improving speed and order accuracy.
  29. Regularly check the speakers to ensure clarity and volume. Follow maintenance guidelines from the audio supplier.
  30. Maintain speaker volume. Loud enough is when a customer doesn’t have to strain or reach to hear.
  31. Make certain every team member knows the service-time goals.
  32. Integrate paperless payment that is quick and worry-free, such as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay, or even through your QSR app.
  33. Let the kitchen eavesdrop on drive thru orders. If the kitchen staff can hear orders as well, both order accuracy and speed rise.
  34. In the absence of an order-confirmation screen, repeat the order to the customer at the order post to ensure accuracy.
  35. Double up on staff and even key equipment, such as the soda fountain and register, to ensure swift service during peak times.
  36. 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.
  37. Maximize the order taker’s comfort and limit distractions by placing this team member in a space away from the restaurant’s hustle and bustle.
  38. Position a duplicate menu board before the order post so that guests can peruse the menu as they wait. This reduces a customer feeling rushed into ordering and allows a full review of options. It also improves speed once they arrive at the order post.
  39. Starting with the kitchen, design everything for speed and accuracy.
  40. On a new build, position the restaurant to the left to segregate customer parking and retain maximum room on the right side for drive thru operations.

About OrderMatic Corporation

At OrderMatic, we develop solutions that enhance the customer transactional experience in new and innovative ways. For over 60 years, we have provided turnkey contract manufacturing services nationwide. From exploring digital menu boards to using presell menus effectively, there are many ways to improve your restaurant’s efficiency even beyond best sales practices. Contact OrderMatic to discuss how you can enhance both your drive-thru and dine-in experience!