With even more traffic than usual in the drive thru, brands need efficiency now more than ever.

With all of the traffic at the drive thru during the pandemic, many operators are going back to the drawing board and focusing on how to make their operation more efficient in order to deliver a satisfying customer experience. One of the ways that efficiency is being achieved by quick-serve brands is by adding headsets that create clear communication between employees and customers.

“Clarity, and accuracy of communication, is the single-most important factor impacting customer flow and profitability within the quick-serve industry,” says Tom Downes, CEO of Quail Digital. “Poor audio accuracy contributes to delays in the ordering process; it creates mistakes at the point of delivery, which leads to food waste; and most of all, it causes stress among staff.”


John Irby, owner and operator of Sidney’s Chicken, outside of Mobile, Alabama, is one such operator that experienced a huge uptick in drive-thru traffic during the pandemic. Prior to that, his brand was, in his words, “stuck in the stone age” when it came to drive-thru technology, and that was costing him seconds on each transaction as his employees attempted to communicate with customers. For example, if a louder car pulled into the drive thru, the employee had to request that the customer speak up, or cut the engine off, in order to hear the order coming through.

After seeing an ad in QSR magazine, Irby called up Quail Digital to inquire about the brand’s new headset, the Pro9. Among the things that caught Irby’s eye are the fact that the headsets are award-winning, and an independent study by Peter Mapp & Associates concluded that, “the Pro9 provides a significant and worthwhile improvement over (competitors).”

Irby affirms that the headsets have helped bring his brand back, speeding up his drive thru by offering crystal clear communication that ensures orders are taken and processed quickly. The headsets’ range stretches all over his storefront, wirelessly. Any number of headsets can be connected, too—at Irby’s operation in Alabama, for example, they use three headsets that are all looped into orders being placed, meaning food prep can happen in real time rather than waiting for tickets to come through.

“When COVID hit, everything shut down, but our drive-thru came alive,” Irby says. “Had we not transitioned to using Quail Digital’s headset system, we would not have been able to handle it as well as we did. It helped us shave minutes per day off of our drive-thru times.”

One of the things Irby likes most about the new headsets is how quickly employees get the hang of it. He says it’s a matter of them learning how the buttons operate, and then the employee is an expert in minutes. It’s a far cry from his old system, where time was taken up pressing buttons on and off to communicate with customers, and the audio clarity was poor.

Irby also indicated that he has loved working with Quail Digital, going so far as to say the brand is “better than any vendor” he’s ever had.

“I have my tech’s cell phone in case something goes wrong,” Irby says. “He’s been in communication with me and if I ever have issues he’s right on top of it. I can’t say enough about them and their customer service.”


For more information on how to upgrade your drive-thru operation, visit Quail Digital’s website.

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