Without the right equipment, drive thrus slow down. 

The supply chain continues to baffle quick-service operators and not just when it comes to food and beverage products. For example, drive-thru equipment faces many of the delays and shortages seen across all industries. 

And, as operators know, drive thrus can’t afford to have downtime in 2022: While drive thrus have historically been the site of 65 percent of quick-service sales, the NPD Group reports that between April 2020 and April 2022, drive-thru sales increased 20 percent. 

This extra traffic at the drive thru means any equipment downtime, or supply chain delays, can greatly affect performance. One of the most vital parts of a drive thru is headset equipment, and even that has faced supply chain disruptions. How are operators supposed to run the drive-thru like a well-oiled machine without proper communication devices? 

At least one headset company saw this coming. Over a year ago, at the direction of CEO Tom Downes, Quail Digital quietly began stocking up on inventory of its signature Pro9 headset—designed specifically for quick-service restaurants—in order to be able to meet the moment for its client partners. That is a decision that is starting to look increasingly prescient. 

“Some of the biggest headset companies aren’t able to fulfill orders right now,” says John Bardeau, director of North American retail sales at Quail Digital. “There are people waiting 6-months-to-a-year for headsets. Dealers are telling me they have many customers waiting for six months or more to get drive-thru systems, but if they work through us, they can expect immediate delivery.” 

One brand that can attest to this is Which Wich Superior Sandwiches, the near-300-unit brand that recently elected to install drive thrus at 8 of its locations that were ideally suited for it. The brand reached out to Quail Digital and reports being impressed with how fast the headset company sprang into action. Each time they’ve needed to roll out the Quail Digital Pro9 headsets at a new location, the company has been on top of it. Equipment arrives at the location with no delay, and any technical aspect of the rollout is handled by the Quail Digital technician. 

“What I love most about Quail is that they are the experts,” says Barbara Schenker, director of project management and development logistics at Which Which Superior Sandwiches. “What I mean by that, I deal with a lot of vendors who do things that I don’t know a ton about, so I need them to be the experts. Quail totally gets that. They listened to everything we needed out of a drive-thru headset, figured out what would be possible in our storefronts, and then took the ball and ran with it. They are super helpful and knowledgeable.” 

That intimate connection is something Quail Digital seeks to build, especially at a time when it’s not the norm in the industry. “If you contact the larger headset companies, you’re simply not going to get the personal, detailed attention you get with Quail, and that makes all the difference,” Bardeau says. “This attitude is baked-into our entire team, whether you require sales or service.” 

But these relationships, and the ability to deliver product on time, would mean nothing if the product didn’t work. The Quail Digital Pro9 headset offers three channels of what Bardeau refers to as “best-in-class audio,” ensuring that communication is clear and efficient. The third channel can be used for other services such as curbside pickup and table service. 

“Honestly, in a franchise system, no news is good news,” Schenker says. “And I have not heard a peep out of anyone about Quail’s headsets, because they just work. They work the way they are supposed to, and if something were to go wrong, I’m telling you, our technician is so attentive and helpful. To me, that’s an ideal vendor. 

“It was a no-brainer for us to go with Quail,” Schenker continues. “Their pricing was in line, their product is great, and it’s been an awesome experience for us.” 

For more on Quail Digital’s headsets, visit the Quail Digital website

Sponsored Content