Key operational changes can set brands up for success in an increasingly drive-thru oriented industry.

The drive thru has been a core contributor to the success of quick-service restaurants through the years. Recently, due to dining room closures and new health and safety regulations, it is experiencing higher volume than ever before. Some chains have grown their drive-thru business to 90 percent of sales. With this increase, it’s even more necessary than usual to ensure drive thrus operate at peak efficiency. 

“With drive-thru traffic at an all-time high, every area of your operation must be in excellent shape in order to ensure guests continue to receive the quick, convenient, and personable service they’ve come to expect from your brand,”  says Paul Foley, president of HME Hospitality and Specialty Communications. “The drive thru is now essential to the future of foodservice. It is critical to get every aspect right. Every detail impacts your level of success.”

Though many brands have made quick changes to their operations to accommodate the higher volume, is it enough to support long-term success? Now that it is increasingly certain that business will not go back to normal soon, restaurants need to reexamine their operations—particularly in the drive thru—to determine the best solutions that will help grow their business and maximize profits with lasting success.

Take labor, for instance. To manage safe social distancing, as well as to bolster finances amid an economic downturn, many brands are operating with smaller crews. Restaurants need to assess their teams to confirm they are prepared to meet new service goals and are following new safety procedures.

“Now more than ever, it is crucial that your operation is running at its full potential, including your crew,” Foley says. “Are they trained on new protocols and performance goals?”

Meanwhile, Foley notes, it’s just as critical for employees to have equipment that empowers them to do their jobs most effectively. For example, installing high-definition audio in the drive thru can reduce frustrations for both order takers and customers, saving time at the order point and contributing to better service.

“Narrow band drive-thru audio systems can result in misunderstandings between customers and staff members due to low sound quality and high amounts of background noise,” Foley says. “HME’s patented wideband audio technology results in clearer communication and an overall greater customer experience.”

While the latest technology helps provide superior service, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. The key to driving results is in a constantly engaged crew.

“By incentivizing drive-thru performance, crew members and managers are more motivated to improve speed of service, increase car counts, and give customers great service,” Foley says. “Gamifying the drive thru with HME’s ZOOM Nitro platform helps keep employees motivated to drive results.”

As restaurants continue to face uncertainty in the months to come, they can be better prepared to handle the rapidly changing demands and still grow their business by making key changes now.

“Are you embracing the traffic and increasing sales or are you struggling to keep up?” Foley asks. “Upgrades that seemed optional before are now key differentiators for maximizing profits.”

Visit HME’s website to learn how you can optimize your drive thru.

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