Killing Time at the Drive Thru

Venerable name brand QSRs are befuddled as the old formula for success at the drive thru no longer works. The majority of consumers born after the ‘boomers don’t crave factory-stamped & assembled hamburgers; they want exotic flavors and orders tailored to their unique preferences, preferably attained with as little human interaction as possible. Did they mention they want it fast, too?

And why not? Pretty much every other industry has given these young consumers the DIY experience they prefer, eliminating the fallible order-entry middleman & crackling speaker combo in favor of the consumer being in total control of their experience. Unfortunately, new menu demands have directly translated into longer times in the drive thru lane, and most QSRs are still struggling with how to leverage technology to appeal to the digitally-immersed while keeping waits to a minimum & order accuracy at its best.


"SUBWAY® franchisees report a 6-8 month ROI using the World's Fastest Drive Thru." 


New Demands Add Up on the Clock

As of 2014, most QSRs haven’t yet figured out a way to successfully translate a new breed of consumer’s needs into streamlined operations at the drive thru. Larger menus with more options and less ability to pre-make items have contributed to the longest recorded drive thru wait times in history. Clocking in at around 220 seconds, current waits represent a 40 second jump over 2013. Ouch.

Solving the throughput problem while keeping pace with food trends is probably the largest challenge QSRs face to stay competitive in a rapidly evolving industry that sees more than a few franchises turning toward technology to help their brand appeal to digital generations. Reducing their wait after grabbing their attention is equally important, especially when data shows that every seven second reduction in wait time typically results in a 1% gain in market share.

With mobile ordering quickly becoming a “must have” to compete, some brands are redefining their relevancy by testing self-order in the store to speed up the order & payment process while giving Millennials their desired interaction. Even more forward-thinking brands have taken this idea a step further to help streamline operations at the drive thru.


"The Which Wich Crew embraces their new touchscreen technology."

Disrupting 70-year-old Inefficiency

The formula for the drive thru has remained largely unchanged for almost 70 years. Since inception, drive thrus have mainly relied upon speakers and microphones to communicate with guests. There have been additions to the drive thru such as order review screens and better headphone systems, but the problems that have plagued the drive thru from day one still remain. Accurate communication is still dependent upon ambient noise, the current condition of equipment and the attention span of the drive thru attendant. When a large degree of customization is added to the equation, an already hit-or-miss system begins to miss more often.

The World’s Fastest Drive Thru™ neatly destroys these concerns. Successfully implemented in over 170 locations nationwide, the touchscreen drive thru kiosk allows guests total control over their order from start to payment. The intuitive interface shows guests the same options available over the counter, allowing them to customize orders to their heart’s content. Owners have reported significant reduction in bad orders with the kiosks, resulting in greater satisfaction for the customer and lower food costs for the store.

Higher check averages are also the norm for kiosks, as upsells and add-ons are presented unobtrusively and graphically at logical points during the order process. Customers using the drive thru kiosk have reported that check averages are typically 15%+ higher than those inside. For an industry that typically does 60% or more of its sales through the drive thru, that’s a lot of extra bacon.


"Concepts with lots of menu options & modifications benefit greatly from the increase in order accuracy."

Speed Counts

As fast as ordering through the user interface can be, the World’s Fastest Drive Thru™ can go even faster. The drive thru kiosk automatically prompts users to look up past orders upon first engagement, allowing them to order and pay in just a few seconds – literally. This feature alone threatens to disrupt the conventional drive thru model by having the potential to reduce drive thru times down to a concept’s ability to produce food.

The need for greater production is soon realized by concepts doing it right. Employees who were once responsible for taking orders can be moved to more valuable activities to help with production or to give even better customer service inside the store. Overall, this helps build the value of a concept’s brand as customers get better service and spend less time in the drive thru lane.

The World’s Fastest Drive Thru™ has many other benefits besides increased throughput and order accuracy. Click Here to make an appointment at NRA in Chicago, or Click Here to learn more about Touchscreen Drive Thru Solutions from NEXTEP SYSTEMS.


Ready for the fastest drive thru ever?

Contact NEXTEP today and we will show you how, while boosting check averages 10% - or more.