Speed of service:
270.22 seconds / Carl’s Jr.
287.87 seconds / Hardee’s

Order accuracy:
90.9% / Carl’s Jr.
88.1% / Hardee’s

What are your tips for improving speed of service at Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s?

First, reduce “reaction time.” By starting to make each product the moment the order is placed with the cashier, we can begin the overall process more quickly. The faster the food is ready, the faster it can be delivered to the guest.

Second, establish strategic scheduling practices. We put a huge emphasis on having the right employees scheduled at the right time to meet business needs. This includes stationing employees strategically during high peak periods to reduce reaction time.

Finally, anticipate the right products in the right amounts. To better prepare for each day’s needs, accurate production levels allow us to serve our guests more quickly. Plus, an organized, labeled, and rush-ready stocked station enables our employees to quickly produce our premium products.

What are your tips for improving order accuracy at Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s?

Repetition is key. Order accuracy begins with the order-taking process. Each cashier must be hyper-knowledgeable of our diverse menu items and properly key in the guest’s order. We confirm each guest’s order verbally by repeating it back, and verifying everything—including special instructions—is correct.

Organization keeps us on track. At the drive thru, we have a staging area to organize guest orders. Employees verify every order when handing the bag to the guest, including a verbal acknowledgment of each ordered item and confirming the printed receipt.

Packaging and labeling matters. We identify special orders using stickers on our packaging. We’re always exploring new packaging options with simplified messaging to help our employees quickly identify the right product and any special instructions for each order.

Besides speed and accuracy, what’s the most critical factor to Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s drive-thru success?

Employee interaction, communication, and engagement are key. Guests expect a smiling, friendly, and knowledgeable employee as part of the drive-thru experience. Our employees truly make the difference between a drive-thru visit and a drive-thru experience. Extending this engagement internally to our drive-thru teams drives urgency, communication, and speed.

What’s one innovation that you think is going to change the future of drive thru?

Mobile technology. The drive thru will continue to be relevant for how people order and consume their food today if we continue to provide technology innovations to improving the overall experience. Mobile technologies improve guest experience and increase speed at the same time. When guests can order and pay for their meal before they even reach the cashier, it reduces reaction time and improves order accuracy across the board in today’s speed-focused culture.

—Tom Brennan / COO

Customer Experience, Drive Thru, Fast Food, Ordering, Special Reports, Carl's Jr., Hardee's