Industry News | December 24, 2012

Taco Bell Franchisee Finds Drive-Thru Success

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Established in 1982, Desert de Oro Foods is Arizona’s largest Taco Bell franchisee. Desert de Oro Foods is a family-owned and operated business with locations in Arizona, California, and Utah.

Based in Kingman, Arizona, Desert de Oro Foods’ IT team outfits and supports more than 140 restaurants in the region.

The franchisee prides itself on putting people first, both team members and guests. This commitment is an important aspect of Desert de Oro Foods’ desire to create a positive and seamless drive-thru experience for guests and drive-thru team members. 

Desert de Oro Foods’ Taco Bell locations had a range of drive-thru communications systems that were deployed over the last five years. However, restaurants were experiencing poor sound quality due to a limited range of wireless capabilities with the current systems.

Poor audio quality led to increased wait times for customers as a result of miscommunications and mistakes. In addition, Desert de Oro Foods knew it needed to move to a digital system, as the analog bandwidth of its current systems would be ruled out by the FCC at the end of 2012. 

In addition to sound-quality issues, the drive-thru headsets were continually breaking and needing to be sent out for repair. As a result, Desert de Oro Foods had to keep extra headsets on hand to prevent a reduction in drive-thru staff when failures occurred.

The cost of shipping, repairing, and retrofitting, plus downtime, made it clear to the Desert de Oro Foods IT team that it needed to look at alternative drive-thru headsets. 

Parrish Jackson, director of IT for Desert de Oro Foods, met with RF Technologies Inc., a leading drive-thru reseller, at a Taco Bell franchisee show in early 2012.

RF Technologies had been working with Desert de Oro Foods to repair broken headsets and replace fragile parts with a more durable solution. This greatly helped reduce repair cost and hassles.

After discussing Desert de Oro Foods’ new system needs going forward, RF Technologies introduced Jackson to Panasonic’s Attune drive-thru communications system and offered him the opportunity to try out the Attune system, along with three other brands to test the noise-cancelling quality and headset durability.  

“After testing Panasonic’s Attune system, it was clear the sound quality was far superior to our current systems,” Jackson says. “We decided to move forward with a pilot test in two different stores to make a decision between Panasonic and another vendor. After thorough testing, we ultimately selected Attune because of its exceptional sound clarity, user-friendly base station, universal speakers and microphones, and durable headset design.”

Desert de Oro Foods estimates around a $4,000 shaving in repairs costs over a 10-year system life when compared to the other major brands on the market.

Desert de Oro Foods installed 10 Attune systems, with four all-in-one (AIO) headsets per restaurant, to locations with the greatest need. The franchisee has been extremely pleased with the reliability and quality of Attune.

The noise-cancellation sound quality is superb, and Jackson’s team has had zero complaints from stores using Attune. Jackson found the base station extremely easy to set up and adjust, which allowed him to get the Panasonic stores transitioned and up-and-running seamlessly. 

An example of the improved sound quality is demonstrated when diesel trucks enter the drive-thru. Previously, the feedback was so bad that drive-thru operators had to ask truckers to turn off the engine in order to hear their order.

With the Attune system, drive-thru team members have been surprised to find they cannot even tell it is a semi-truck when the vehicles pull up, because the sound is so clear. Also, the sound quality during rainy and windy days is significantly improved with the Attune system. 

The Attune AIO headsets have not required any repairs, which is a vast difference from the other vendors’ headsets that are constantly with RF Technologies for repair. The reduction in repairs alone has already saved Desert de Oro Foods money and kept the total cost of ownership low.

On the other side of the communication, the customer clearly hears the person waiting on them and the customer does not hear all the kitchen noise and conversations in the background. Customers feel waited on and more comfortable that their order is being made correctly. 

With the success of Attune at the initial 10 locations, Desert de Oro Foods has decided to standardize with Panasonic for all refreshes and new store builds. During the second quarter of 2013, Desert de Oro Foods will replace all analog drive-thru systems with Panasonic’s Attune. 

“We are very pleased with our decision to standardize on Panasonic’s Attune in order to serve our drive-thru guests in a timely and smooth manner,” Jackson says. “With the reliability and durability of Attune, Desert de Oro Foods has been able to save time and money, while providing an exceptional customer experience.”