One of the key metrics for evaluating the performance of a quick-service restaurant is throughput, which measures how many customers can be served per hour. Consistently serving customers quickly and accurately while providing a superior guest experience is an ongoing challenge for quick-service restaurant operators. The pandemic made off-premises dining options essential for restaurant success, so it’s time to take a look at your data and past performance to make adjustments in those areas. To stay competitive, operators must analyze all aspects of their business and implement digital ordering and digital marketing solutions to increase throughput for 2021.

Dive into Drive-Thru Data

Drive-thru business soared to new heights in the last year: fast-food drive-thrus generated a revenue increase of $300 million compared to the same period in 2019. Consumers experiencing the pandemic wanted to continue enjoying the convenience of dining out while utilizing minimal-contact options for safety. This potential for increased drive-thru revenue makes a closer examination of your operations worthwhile.

Reporting and time tracking are essential to increase throughput everywhere, but particularly at the drive-thru. Use modular apps that measure sales, identify traffic jams, and can help you reach new levels of growth by enabling you to quickly address problems and evolve with customer demands. With solutions that make your digital dashboards accessible from anywhere, on any device, you can implement changes instantly.

Do a little homework and look into what produces results for top-notch quick-serves. The three components to keep in mind are speed, accuracy, and quality of service. These all rely on each other to create optimal throughput.

  • To improve speed, consider moving staff outdoors with mobile ordering tablets to greet guests as soon as possible. As the orders go straight to the kitchen, your staff will have more time to make the orders, which guarantees accuracy and a quality experience.
  • Train staff and management on menu knowledge to bridge any gaps and improve order speed.
  • Share data with employees so that they are aware of the order accuracy, drive-thru speed targets, and areas that need improvement.


Also consider other factors that can influence drive-thru speed besides reducing human error.

Your brand will have to evolve as customer demands change. The best way to stay on top of developing trends is to deep-dive into your data often. That’s why owning your customer data has never been more important. Integration of all on- and off-premises ordering channels, and having centralized access to that data is crucial.

Tech Solutions, Unite!

Quick-service restaurant operators must research the best digital ordering and digital marketing solutions for their business. However, your tech stack is only one piece of the puzzle. The real success lies in your integration capabilities, whether it’s a Tablet POS, restaurant management system, or ordering channels like online ordering and text to order options. Your solutions must share real-time information for confident decision-making.

Digital ordering is essential for quick-service restaurants, and your platform should communicate directly to your kitchen staff for quick and accurate order fulfillment. Your drive-thru ordering shouldn’t disrupt other operations happening simultaneously like takeout. For forward-thinking brands, invest in solutions that allow you to edit online ordering content and the aesthetic for optimal user experience. This supports your drive throughput via delivery or curbside pickup. This integration solution will free up drive-thru space and increase overall efficiency and throughput.   

While it’s important to have digital solutions that quickly communicate with automated processes, there are even more ways to speed up drive-thru operations. Create dual lanes along with a face-to-face ordering crew, armed with mobile order tablets to keep the lines moving. For quick-serves in areas that experience all four seasons, install canopies in the drive-thru, and develop uniquely-designed crew uniforms for additional support during inclement weather.

To stay relevant and speedy, you also need mobile and credit card payment options to reduce wait times. Invest in mobile card readers and Bluetooth cash drawers. Payments have advanced, and it’s time to reap the benefits to maximize throughput and profits for your restaurant.

Get the Right Digital Ordering and Digital Marketing Solutions

Take the time to assess what digital ordering and digital marketing solutions best fit the needs of your quick-service restaurant. With digital marketing, look back at the last three months of marketing automation for email, text, online and mobile app loyalty program, and social media to identify the top performers. If you find that one stands out as superior, decrease spending in the areas that don’t resonate or result in repeat sales.

Marketing automation is vital to decrease time spent on individual campaigns. Instead, your marketing solution gathers data and creates appeals based on past successes with new customers who became dedicated fans of your brand.

Automation is also essential for digital ordering solutions for your quick-serve and throughput success. Look at your digital ordering insights to see what adjustments need to be made to better serve your customers and increase your throughput numbers. Always review what solutions don’t measure up to your restaurant’s needs, and quickly implement changes when necessary.

Throughput success soars when seamless integration occurs in all areas of digital ordering and digital marketing for your QSR. With the proper digital solutions, you can confidently increase the quantity of your throughput without sacrificing the quality of your order accuracy and guest experience.

Matt Martini leads HungerRush’s Enterprise and Account-Based Marketing (ABM) by creating premium, hyper-personalized experiences at scale. Matt executes unique marketing strategies for quick-service restaurant. Learn more about HungerRush at

Business Advice, Drive Thru, Outside Insights, Restaurant Operations, Story, Technology