Hot Tips to Increase Your Drive-Thru Speed

It’s hard to over-estimate how significantly a restaurant’s drive-thru wait times affect sales, but every 7 seconds a chain shaves off drive-thru wait time equals about a 1 percent increase in sales, according to a recent study. The study’s results found that chains can improve their absolute and relative market shares significantly with “relatively modest reductions in wait time.”

Like almost any business challenge, there is no single solution to reducing drive-thru times; it takes both an informed and multi-pronged approach to deal with effectively. Explore our tips on how to reduce wait time and increase your drive-thru sales:

Update Your Drive-Thru Signage

Drive-thru signage being produced today is a significant leap forward from decades’ past. Both static and digital displays with a media player and software are far more adept at addressing the previous need for sunlight-readable displays, vandal resistance and longer operating life.

Well-designed menu boards will draw the eye to the highest margin items – those items that contribute the most to your bottom line. If people are rushed, they tend to fall back to their go-to meals. Additionally, bottlenecks at the point of order reduce the number of cars you can move through your drive-thru during the busiest day-parts.

Adopt Mobile Processing

Mobile ordering processing can be one of the biggest game-changers for drive-thru chains. Drive-thru chains that embrace mobile processing and payments, can benefit in a reduction of the wait times in the drive-thru lanes, from the time spent deciding which items to order, to processing payment. Customers will be able to pop by, pick up their order and head out without much delay.

Day-Part Your Digital Menu Boards

Digital menu boards offer this kind of flexibility that not only allows for simpler drive-thru menu presentation but better up-selling capabilities.

Incorporate Customer Detection Capabilities

Using software that allows customer detection through license plates, key fob and beacon zone transponders and mobile phone proximity methods, can — when combined with analytics — greatly enhance an operators ability to “know” customers beyond individual transactions in order to make LTO or new menu item suggestions, as well as establish that all-important customer relationship.

Dispatch Order-Takers

Consider dispatching order-takers into drive-thru lines at peak times of day by having employees walk out to the drive-thru lane and, using a tablet integrated with their in-house POS system, they take customer orders to expedite order preparation and delivery.