Convenience, speed of service, accuracy, and clear communication are key factors in creating a positive drive-thru experience. The pandemic also brought into focus a new concern for operators, as it forced them to find different ways to enhance customer and employee safety via contactless transactions.
The Fly-Thru Drive-Thru, an innovation using advanced RFID technology, addresses each of these areas without adding in operational complexities. The concept was born when AdvanTech, Inc., an asset maximization technology company and new entrant to restaurant solutions, discovered a largely unknown statistic: 90 percent of a quick-serve’s customers have a favorite order they repeat each time they visit.
Steven McLendon, AdvanTech board member, recognized the opportunity to enhance drive-thru efficiency presented by this consistency in ordering. What if regular visitors, he wondered, could virtually skip the ordering process by using a system that recognizes them upon entry and automatically uploads their favorite order? The Fly-Thru Drive-Thru is a solution that does just that, and helps elevate the customer experience by getting orders right every single time, speeding up drive-thru service by 40 percent, which ultimately increases sales between 10 and 20 percent, says McLendon.
The Fly-Thru Drive-Thru uses proprietary, secure RFID technology, a solution used worldwide by toll roads and toll booth payment companies. Here’s how the Fly-Thru Drive-Thru works: a customer’s order is programmed into a branded decal that is placed on their windshield or dashboard. The program remembers the customer’s favorite order so that, as they approach the drive thru, their order is automatically uploaded, saving time for the customer, and allowing the restaurant to serve more customers in less time. Because research conducted by AdvanTech proves that customers repeat their order 90 percent of the time, starting with their favorite order makes more sense, says McLendon.
The Fly-Thru Drive-Thru’s simplicity differentiates the solution from competing drive-thru technologies, says Robert Bona, CEO at AdvanTech. He believes the adoption of options like online ordering and curbside pickup increases operational complexities and costs and moves quick-service brands away from what has always been their bread and butter: the drive thru. Fly-Thru Drive-Thru is a solution that complements these investments while presenting restaurants with all the upside of advance ordering, curbside pickup, or delivery while increasing line-busting and advance-ordering productivity.
With the backdrop of the ongoing labor crisis and brands having to pay higher hourly wages, the Fly-Thru Drive-Thru is a bargain, says Bona. The system has an estimated first-year cost of $15,000, which covers the installation of equipment, and about $3,000 each subsequent year. With the estimated 10 to 20 percent annual increase in sales factored in, McLendon and Bona are confident restaurants can expect an annual ROI of $300,000 for a typical quick-service restaurant.
The Fly-Thru Drive-Thru will also eliminate the need for dedicated staff running orders out to the parking lot and waiting areas. Moreover, Fly-Thru Drive-Thru increases tablet-based line-busting customer service level and productivity and accuracy by automatically detecting the customer and pre-loading their order upon arrival, even those from their advanced ordering app, providing more time for greeting and offering upgrades to their order.
Bona adds that the Fly-Thru Drive-Thru is a self-contained system that relies on Zebra RFID Technology rather than Wi-Fi, meaning that no sensitive consumer information is stored, and therefore the Fly-Thru Drive-Thru is immune from hacks.
Another aspect of the Fly-Thru Drive-Thru that has McLendon and Bona particularly excited is the world of possibilities it will unveil regarding suggestive selling. It’s widely known that suggestive selling is more effective when it’s relevant to a customer’s order. Since an employee can see a Fly-Thru Drive-Thru customer’s order when they enter the drive thru, they are able to upsell accordingly.
“For example, if you go to McDonald’s regularly and order a Sausage Biscuit and a medium coffee,” McLendon says, “now the cashier can propose a large coffee and/or apple slices as it’s completely relevant—that’s the immeasurable part of this. What is going to happen to sales when your suggestive selling is lifting the value of each ticket because you know your customers that much better?”
For more on the Fly-Thru Drive-Thru, visit the AdvanTech website.