On the heels of the latest jobs report, which revealed that restaurants added more than 30,000 jobs in March—the 49th consecutive month of growth for the industry—limited-service operators are well positioned for the incoming summer season.
When you’re a burger brand based on value, rising beef prices could mean a supply chain disaster. But at drive-thru chains Checkers and Rally's, vigorously staying ahead of commodities forecasts has shielded the sister brands from this year’s growing beef costs.
The best drive thrus run like machines. Simple goals are met over and over: Orders go out quickly, the food is delivered fresh, and the right orders get to the right cars. But in the drive thru, pressure can run high and the smallest mistakes can prove catastrophic, backing up lines and spelling disaster for both customers and the restaurant’s bottom line.
Tony Holmes had a problem: The drive thru at his high-traffic Chick-fil-A restaurant in Apex, North Carolina, was too crowded.
For nearly two years, he tried line busting with employees outside wearing headsets. Then he gave those employees handheld remote units to streamline ordering. Both methods helped alleviate the drive thru’s bottleneck, but there were other issues that technology and manpower couldn’t address.
So in November, Holmes installed a dual drive-thru lane.
Checkers/Rally’s may be known for its double drive thru and seasoned fries, says Checkers chief marketing officer Terri Snyder. But the brands are hoping their newest product, Loaded Potato Skins, will become just as popular.
The potato skins—a permanent item that feature full-sized, meaty potato skins covered with cheese sauce, bacon chunks, and ranch sauce and sold three for $2.99—were inspired by a trio of factors.
First, consumers simply love them, and it’s hard to get them anywhere else in the limited-service world, Snyder says.
It would seem strange these days to attend a Super Bowl party that didn’t have chicken wings available on the snack line. Wings are America’s “party food,” showing up at all manner of celebrations, from tailgating to graduation parties.
But now that party is extending to the quick-serve industry, with wings showing up on menus at concepts one might otherwise not expect to carry them. For example, Veggie Grill, a sandwich and burger concept, added wings in the spring of 2011. Taco John’s, a Mexican concept, did so in the fall of 2011.
On a recent visit to shop his competition, operator Thom Crosby saw disappointment after disappointment in the drive thru. Bad customer service while placing and paying for his order, poorly dressed employees, and backed-up cars plagued operation after operation.
But to Crosby, the experience was more than just a bad lunch. It epitomized all that can go wrong with a broken drive thru.
Checkers/Rally’s, the nation’s largest double drive-thru chain, unveiled a new store prototype that updates the look of the building and loses the iconic second drive-thru window in favor of a covered seating area.
Tampa, Florida-based Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, the nation’s largest chain of double drive-thru restaurants, knows that people drive its success.
When the national quick-service chain decided that one of its core corporate values, “Obsessed with Excellence: Uncompromisingly High Standards,” could be enhanced by investing in talent management technology, Checkers gave JobApp Network a tall order: Bring excellence. Bring an ROI that won’t quit.
Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc., recognized Restaurant Technology, Inc. (RTI) as a winner of its 2011 Supplier of the Year Award for its back office software, RTIconnect, which Checkers uses to control food and labor costs in its corporate restaurants.