Changing the Drive Thru Blueprint

For fast casual, it turns out that a thoughtfully designed digital interface is a much faster way to get guests through the order and payment process, even with fast casual’s varying levels of complexity and customization. “I’d like an Italian sub on white bread, toasted, no provolone, sub mozzarella, add bacon, give me extra jalapeños, lettuce, and tomato, and add oil, vinegar and oregano, please. Oh, and Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips and a large Coke, too. Did you get all that, or do I need to repeat myself?”

The headset system will eventually lose as one form of self-order or another bypasses the countless inefficiencies found in “telephone game” ordering. Putting the interface directly in the eager hands of guests effectively eliminates most sources of inaccuracy and interference, electronic or other. This greatly increases order accuracy while giving guests exactly what they want: easy access to every option and total control over their experience. Bonus: using self-order means you may never again have to explain toppings and condiments to someone unfamiliar with your concept. Kiosks make that part easy, too.


The DT4e kiosk allows guests to order and pay in under five seconds.Read on below.

Anything that delivers exactly the right guest experience the most times wins. Features that help personalize the experience like order memory or reward programs are helpful, and will also go far with Millennials. Just give them control and another reason to indulge in their ability to splurge on good food and they will (Millennials spent more on take-out than on groceries last year).

Solve the Pain Points and Profit will Follow

Quickly and accurately getting guests through the order and payment process solves more than a few of the typical problems that plague fast casual concepts. When guests order 100% accurately in a few seconds during a rush, concepts operate as fast as their employees can produce. Better interfaces also take guests through an Intelligent Upsell™ process, resulting in higher check averages for the concept in addition to increased volume. Interfaces save time and eliminate the need for sometimes lengthy (and all-too-often repeated) communication.

Drive thru kiosks can increase throughput so much that more employees are needed to keep production on track. If you freed up a pair of hands to help production during your busiest times, what would it do for your operation? How about your late night business? Often, sandwich chains experience a loss in off-peak hours. Self-order alleviates that as the employee normally at the POS entering the order can now provide production value, yet is still available to help when needed.

Kiosks are also great helpers for customer service and curb appeal. It feels good to know that you won’t be in the weeds when tables need to be cleaned, guests need to be helped or (hey, it happens) orders need to be re-made. Sometimes, having someone with an extra two minutes to stop and listen, pick up a stranded tray or to lend some needed assistance to guests can turn a potential negative Yelp! review into a positive one instead. And we all know that every one counts.

Drive thru kiosks can increase throughput so much that more employees are needed to keep production on track.

QSR-like Drive Thru Speed

When stacking up the competition, it’s easy to see why customers pass them by when in a rush. Fast casuals, though quicker than casual dining, are generally hard pressed to deliver lightning-fast ticket times inside, much less at drive thru speeds.

Some rising concepts in fast casual decided to look at what they could do to make that time crunch a thing of the past. Landing ticket times around the three-minute mark would put any fast casual within easy grasp of the same market as QSR, and some are now delivering. One leading sandwich concept boasts just north of three-minute ticket times at lunch, a tremendous feat considering the vast selection of the foot long concept.

First One to Integration Wins

One might say that if a concept wants to grow, they should take a look at what others are doing to get ahead. Taking that next step might make all the difference in market share. Putting the right technology in every location and managing it from one central hub is the key.

Implementing the right point of sale gives concepts the capabilities they need to make smart decisions. Even better if self-order and point of sale can work seamlessly to produce full sales metrics. Now consider all the other pieces of technology a concept probably needs, like online and mobile ordering or digital menu boards, and there’s an argument to be made that each and every one of these technologies should be managed in one, single place.

If rising concepts are battling on two fronts with QSRs and within niches like better burgers or subs, keeping the cost of scaling down is a true differentiator. So is the ability to track and control costs across multiple locations. For concepts serious about rapid growth, having an integrated solution is a necessity.

We Think You’d Also Be Interested In…

How the Touchscreen Solves Drive Thru Headaches: The average drive thru comes with its fair share of frustrations. Watch this video to see how a Touchscreen Drive Thru can create a smoother experience for you, your employees, and your guests.

Fast Casual and the Drive Thru Conundrum: The new kids in fast casual might not have millions in capital, but they’re outmaneuvering the giants and hitting the mark with Millennials.

Which Wich does Drive Thru Differently: One of fast casual’s fasting growing franchises embraces self-order at the drive thru.


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