How to Keep Your Drive-Thru Competitive in Today’s Market

Drive-thrus account for approximately 60 percent of sales for quick service restaurants, and competition for ownership in the drive-thru space is fierce. The industry is expected to grow 4.20 percent to $690.80 billion by 2022, so in an already crowded marketplace, it is critical that brands and operators continue to enhance their businesses to stay ahead of the competition. That means more than just offering great tasting food and delivering it quickly.

To stay current in today’s competitive landscape, it needs to be about providing an overall engaging guest experience that keeps customers coming back.

Cater To On-The-Go Diner

The average American will spend almost 38,000 hours driving in their lifetime, so it is no surprise 20 percent of American meals are eaten in the car. Many restaurants are catering to the mobile consumer by offering auto-friendly foods and packaging. Wraps and burritos offer a neater option to sandwiches and burgers, while packaging such as cups to fit standard cup holders or sandwiches wrapped with parchment paper make eating in the car less hectic. And although it may not be a new idea, ensuring napkins are in the to-go bag enhances the customer experience.

Ensure Accuracy and Speed

In the past, the standard time to get through the drive-thru was 210 seconds. Today, the average is about 286 seconds. Even with the slower processing times, consumers are willing to give up a little time for accuracy, personalization and higher quality ingredients.

Accuracy can greatly improve with the addition of order confirmation boards and high quality speaker systems; however, if you are looking for more interactive ways to improve order accuracy, two-way video systems or touch screen ordering systems are always an option. Enabling the customer to review their order on an order confirmation system before it is filled can make a significant improvement on order accuracy.

Just remember: One way to decrease customer loyalty is by getting the orders wrong in the drive-thru. It’s one thing in the restaurant when the guest is forced to return to the counter. It is another thing when a drive-thru guest reaches their destination, ready to eat, and finds the wrong items in their bag.

Communicate Convenience

For many quick service restaurants, digital menu boards have transformed the guest experience inside the restaurant with vibrant images and graphics that capture guests’ attention and drive sales. Going digital in the drive-thru can provide these same benefits to the customers who prefer the convenience of ordering in the drive-thru.

Today’s digital menu boards can also contain order confirmation systems that feature timely promotions and complimentary menu items. This allows restaurant crews to engage guests at the moment of purchase and offer a more valuable guest experience while also ensuring order accuracy.

Complete the drive-thru experience with clearly defined drive-thru lanes, attractive directionals, and vividly designed menu boards. It is this experience the customer will associate with your logo. It is this engagement that can turn a casual customer into a loyal one. 

OrderMatic is the leading drive-thru and dine-in manufacturer for quick service restaurants. We are the best at what we do because we work with our customers throughout the project to ensure their investment in us will provide value for them. From branding to installation, OrderMatic will work to ensure your drive-thru expresses your brand, engages your customer and provides them an experience which will keep them coming back.