Drive-Thru Insights on Sales, Site Selection and Technology

For an on-the-go consumer, there are few things better than getting your food quickly and conveniently. It’s even better if you don’t have to leave your car to get it.

Drive-thrus have been a mainstay for fast food restaurants for decades, but now they’re cropping up everywhere from pharmacies to coffee shops. An estimated 50 to 70 percent of fast food sales come courtesy of the drive-thru, so it’s only understandable that other concepts try to boost their sales with the same simple solution.

OrderMatic Corporation has been working with drive-thrus for over 60 years, and with that experience comes wisdom and expertise. Here’s are a few insights from the company as they track drive-thru trends and franchisees interested in a drive-thru location:

Drive-Thru Sales
Profitable quick serve restaurants and fast casual establishments realize marked revenue gains and enhance customer retention come by creating a fast, efficient and friendly drive-thru. Innovations – from wireless headsets and order-confirmation boards to pre-sell signage – create a better drive-thru model. This model is capable of handling 40 to 60 percent of business revenue.

Customers rushing to work or a parent headed to drop off a child at school expect what a drive-thru offers: fast service and the convenience of staying in their car. Drive-thrus that can meet that demand for speed and convenience make sales.

Site Selection for Drive-Thrus
Finding the right site for drive-thrus can be a bit more involved than site selection for inline locations. Partnering with the right team of site selection professionals who are well-versed in the quick serve industry, can make or break the long-term success of the drive-thru. Some common questions a good site selection professional will ask are:

  • Is the drive-thru allowed by local code, and will we be able to get a permit to operate one?
  • What is the best path for the car flow? Should they wrap around the building or simply drive to the front?
  • How will car stacking work out?
  • Will the cars stack into a major road or block traffic?
  • What is the optimal location for the exterior menu, canopy, brand signage, directional signage, and headset hardware?

Of course, there are many other factors to consider when looking at a potential drive-thru site. But, these are just a few that will help you get an idea of whether it’s a strong area.

Drive-Thru Technology
While a drive-thru can bring in more customers, the drive-thru technology alone is no longer enough to differentiate businesses. That’s why drive-thru that merge first-rate technology, training and innovation as central parts of all operation strategies – see greater success in their operational growth.

A popular example of this hybrid approach is the use of mobile tablets for a POS system, which allows staff to walk outside and take orders when the car stack starts to grow. This helps streamline operations, while also getting customers through the queue quicker.

While drive-thrus are becoming the norm within the food and beverage segment, it’s important to continue innovating to stay competitive. A drive-thru can have a significant positive impact on sales, but improving technology and operational efficiency will be the key to differentiation.