According to Steven Jones, director of operations for Triarc Restaurant Group (TRG), franchisor of the Arby's, Pasta Connection, and T.J. Cinnamons brands, the video was inspired by the humorous disagreement between Mel Gibson and Joe Pesci in the movie Lethal Weapon II. In the scene, Pesci refuses to go through a drive-thru because his order always comes out wrong. The TRG group thought the best way to train employees was literally put them in the driver's seat to understand what it's like to be on the receiving end of a disastrous drive-thru experience.
"We didn't want to use the typical 'talking head,'" said Jones. "We wanted to get inside the psyche and really relate to those we're training in a humorous, impactful way. We credit 'Drive-Thru to Excellence' with helping the Arby's system raise its standards and improve the drive-thru experience."
Arby's was ranked number 13 in overall drive-thru service in 1998 by QSR prior to the "Drive-Thru to Excellence" training program. In the 1999 QSR Drive-Thru Time Study, after implementing the "Drive-Thru to Excellence" training program, Arby's overall drive-thru service ranking rose from number 13 to number 3, up ten spots. QSR will publish the results of its 2000 study in October.
"The drive-thru is becoming a key part of the quick-service industry," said president and COO Michael Howe. "Drive-thru orders account for approximately 60 percent of fast-food sales. It's important that Arby's drive-thrus offer customers a high quality experience while maintaining speed and accuracy."
The video, produced by Professional Broadcast Video Services and created by John Floyd, Sr., of Media Lab, added a series of special effects to give it a realistic,investigative reporting feel. Journalists for the station "WARBY" went undercover, using a hidden video camera, to investigate drive-thru order waiting time, accuracy and service. The video goes back and forth between a realistic newsroom set and grainy surveillance video. The video also uses a time ticker and man-on-the-street interviews to drive home the point that a long waiting time, inaccurate orders, and poor customer service frustrate customers.
The Aurora Award is an independent film and video competition for commercials, cable programming, documentaries, industrial, instructional and corporate videos. Established in 1996, the award represents one of the highest video and film accolades in the industry.