In quick service restaurants (QSRs), the drive thru window is just as important as the front counter – the difference is that customers who choose to use the drive thru window are most likely in more of a rush than those who come inside.
To be profitable and preferred by customers, it is imperative that these restaurants focus on speed and accuracy, the most important aspects of QSR operations. Customers rely on the convenience of drive thru windows so they can carry on with their busy days.
But QSRs can’t achieve drive thru efficiency with outdated processes – it often ends in them increasing speed but compromising accuracy, or vice versa. In recent years, several restaurant POS technologies have emerged to reduce the time it takes QSRs to deliver correct orders. These technologies work to drive customer satisfaction and loyalty.
According to recent research conducted by QSR magazine, which studied many of the world’s largest quick service chains, drive thru service has consistently improved in speed year over year. This is due in large part to the development of new technologies. It’s important for restaurants to take advantage of these new technologies – such as kitchen display systems and order confirmation boards – to make sure they don’t fall behind or lose business.
Here are four technologies that will improve your drive thru speed and accuracy:
1. Customer kiosks
Rather than neglecting customers at the front counter to concentrate on the drive thru – or vice versa – employees can effectively manage both with the help of customer-facing applications like kiosks and tablets. Kiosks allow customers to place and confirm their own orders, as well as pay for them, which frees up employees to spend more time focusing on drive-thru operations.
Kiosks can help to streamline service inside the restaurant and clear crowding or congestion at the front counter, which in turn frees up employees to spend more time on drive-thru operations. Customers can help themselves and input their own orders, which are then sent to the POS system.
2. Kitchen display systems
It’s hard to imagine a quick service or fast casual restaurant without a kitchen display system (KDS) to automate the preparation process. Without one, employees preparing food and drinks must rely on printed or handwritten tickets – or their own memory – to complete the order correctly. This can lead to inaccuracies and time wasted fumbling with papers. Since speed and accuracy are a necessity in drive thru operations, these extra steps can lead to slow times and frustrated customers.
With a KDS, a drive-thru order can be entered into the POS system and then displayed on a screen in the food preparation area. Employees can also use a “bump bar” to clear completed orders from the screen and stay on task.
Not to mention, when integrated with a quick service POS system, a KDS allows restaurant owners to take advantage of reporting features and evaluate employee performance – including average time each car spends in the drive thru, average order completion time and percent of orders completed on time.
3. Order confirmation boards
Many modern restaurants are also looking to order confirmation boards (OCB) to improve communication and order accuracy in the drive thru lane. Nearly every brand studied in the 2013 QSR magazine drive thru study benchmark group reported an increase in OCB implementation. Using sunlight-readable LCD technology, the screens display real-time recaps of the customer’s order to make sure it has been entered correctly. When used in conjunction with feature-rich POS and KDS, this technology can work wonders for an improved customer experience.
Drive-thru customers visit these restaurants so they can grab a quick bite and carry on with their day. Whether they’re headed to school, work or another engagement, they don’t want to wait and they certainly don’t want to receive the wrong order.