The NPD Group recently reported drive-thru sales grew by 20 percent between February 2020 and February 2022. Digital ordering has also picked up in a big way, with the NPD Group reporting an increase of 117 percent since February 2020. That figure includes curbside pickup and other digital orders that are picked up at the drive-thru window, and is yet another reason why drive thrus are busier than ever before.
The growth in these areas have been a blessing and a curse for the industry. More revenue is always good, of course, especially as labor and food costs spike. But the challenges of integrating new ordering and pick-up channels, with the backdrop of an industry-wide labor crisis, means restaurant efficiency is a critically important challenge.
“Restaurants are severely understaffed,” says Scott Mullica, director of product management with HME Hospitality and Specialty Communications. “Managers are working six days a week, and operators are extending crews across multiple locations. But these temporary solutions are increasing employee burnout instead of alleviating pressure.”
Fortunately, there are tech solutions that can help maximize restaurant and employee efficiency. For example, HME Hospitality and Specialty Communications’ new NEXEO | HDX Crew Communication Platform integrates with the HME ZOOM Nitro Timer with video detection to enhance drive-thru efficiency. The platforms’ integration empowers restaurants with actionable insights delivered to the right person at the right time. Key staff members can receive headset alerts when it matters most, like each time a car arrives in a curbside pickup space in the parking lot, enabling your team to better serve guests across all order pickup locations.
“Actionable data and greater insights help managers make better decisions in real time,” Mullica says. “ZOOM Nitro alerts to your NEXEO | HDX headset enhances awareness to key areas of your operation—the drive thru, mobile orders, and curbside—enabling your team to improve performance on the spot.”
The cloud-connected NEXEO | HDX platform has other competitive advantages that make it better suited for modern off-premises sales, too. Because of its multiple channels, the platform enables dedicated communication for outside order takers, mobile order groups, and more. Team members can use hands-free voice commands to perform certain tasks, such as connecting to a mobile order group channel. HME CLOUD connectivity also keeps NEXEO | HDX up-to-date and prepared for the future of the industry. Plus, the system is ready to integrate with voice-AI providers.
“NEXEO | HDX is the total communication platform that is best suited to drive increased efficiency in your restaurant as your business grows,” Mullica says. “This platform provides more communication options and flexibility than other systems currently available and can grow with your business and its future needs.
–By Charlie Pogacar
For more on HME’s NEXEO | HDX, hme.com/nexeo.