As work and leisure activities resume normalcy, consumers are back in the swing of things and on the go. This means the demand for speedy and convenient dining options is on the rise, keeping the quick-service restaurant industry on its toes, preparing to cater to these busy customers.

Fortunately, technological advances have been keeping pace with these demands, providing new ways to increase the speed of service and make quick-service restaurants more profitable. Below are five ways to take advantage of quick-service technology trends that are helping improve the industry.

1. Utilize Digital Menus and Order Confirmation Boards

A primary quick-service industry concern is improving drive-thru times. One way to streamline this process is to have easy-to-read and well-lit signage that makes it simple for customers to place orders. Digital boards have another advantage: they can be updated quickly when any items need to be added or removed (when you have new limited-time offerings, for example, or when you run out of something).

In addition, order confirmation boards can provide a customer with a visual summary they can check to ensure an order has been accurately entered. A few seconds to confirm can save a lot of time and frustration in sorting out an incorrect order. These boards can also be programmed to work automatically with inside kitchen display systems (KDS) and printers for streamlined order management.

2. Add a Second Drive-Thru Lane

If demand warrants it and your current location can accommodate it, consider what many quick-service restaurants are moving toward: additional ordering stations, pass/drive-thru lanes, and pick-up windows to expedite customer service. Add reliable hardware at each step (such as printers and cash drawers at the windows) and effectively double your operations. You could have one lane for traditional drive-thru orders and another for digital orders, which tend to be larger. Recently a model Taco Bell has begun using this strategy to keep things moving more efficiently. According to The NPD Group, between February 2020 and February 2022, drive-thru orders rose by 20 percent. So it’s a segment of the quick-service industry’s revenue stream worth maximizing.

3. Provide an Array of Pick-Up Options

In addition to traditional drive-thru service, many quick-service restaurants are now using curbside delivery and order pick-up storage lockers to provide flexible options to customers who want to expedite the food pick-up process. The availability of digital ordering (through your branded app or website or for delivery from third-party services such as Grubhub and DoorDash) is rapidly moving from “nice to have” to “must have.” Make sure you’re giving your customers the flexibility and convenience they have come to expect.

4. Use Mobility to Line Bust

Many quick-service restaurants with consistently high volumes are arming store associates with mobile tablets and portable printers to take orders from long queues (in the store and in drive-thru lanes). Getting orders submitted to the kitchen faster expedites food prep, which reduces wait times in line—and increases customer satisfaction.

 5. Use a POS System Designed for Quick Service

POS systems designed for the quick-service industry are created with speed of service in mind. The menus are programmed so it is easy and intuitive to use touchscreen technology to process an order quickly.

Another way to maximize profits with your quick-service technology is to ensure your POS system includes self-service kiosks. Using kiosks can offer many benefits, such as freeing your staff from taking orders to focus on other areas of fulfillment and customer satisfaction (such as speeding up food prep). Plus, self-service kiosk orders tend to be larger, giving this quick-service technology trend a good ROI.

Is It Time to Update Your Quick-Service Technology?

As life approaches its new normal, consumers will only get busier. They are going to want fast and affordable restaurant options. If you don’t want to lose customers to competitors offering more convenience, you need to start upgrading your business today!


Brittany DeGroat is a Media Content Specialist for Star Micronics.

Outside Insights, Story, Technology