Special Report

The Consumer Experience

Consumers have lower expectation at the drive-thru than when they come inside a restaurant. Why not surprise them? Here are ideas turned up by QSR's consumer survey.

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Consumer survey turns up guest wants in drive thru.

For readers who have followed QSR’s Drive-Thru Study since the beginning, it’s clear that growing chicken concept Chick-fil-A is the gold standard in drive-thru service and customer experience. Having come out on top of the majority of QSR’s Drive Thru Performance Studies, Chick-fil-A also sets its experience apart by focusing on what the company calls “second mile service.” 

Originating from a Bible verse (Matthew 5:41 says, “If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two”), this business philosophy is applied throughout the chain’s operations both in the dining room and in the lane. That means there’s a special focus on the extras. From tray liners to kids’ placemats to trashcans in the drive-thru lane, the stores consider what are normally seen as extras, instead as essentials.

There’s a lesson in that for the rest of the industry, and the data presented in this year’s study is meant to help your brand get started. There’s no mention of speed, accuracy, or price. Anyone in the industry knows those factors are important. What you might not know is consumers drive into your lane with lower expectations than when they come into your store. Why not impress them? For example, one of the top improvements consumers want to see is the addition of trashcans in the drive-thru lanes so they can clean out their cars. No fancy POS purchases required, no retraining to be done, just a $200 purchase to make them happier.