The pandemic has expedited technological innovations for the restaurant industry, including in the drive thru. Tools that once seemed like future fantasies—like mobile ordering and AI—are suddenly becoming commonplace. Here’s what consumers think about these ordering opportunities. (The below figures represent percentage of study respondents.)

Contactless payment options4248434141
Mobile ordering options3834424132
Automated technology detecting car arrival, pre-order brought to car3631433531
Carhops, placing order from car3628393138
Ordering system that remembers me and my preferences3021373222
Ordering system that remembers my last order2428262521
More extensive digital signage207162025
Artificial intelligence helping make decisions when placing order142123146



2020 QSR drive-thru performance study Methodology

The FoodserviceResults team conducted a comprehensive, nationally representative survey of drive-thru consumers in the U.S. using an online survey sample. Participants in the research were screened for frequency of use as well as numerous demographic characteristics in order to ensure that the respondent base was reflective of the U.S. drive-thru market.

Leveraging insights from numerous industry experts, the finalized survey was completed among 1,007 drive-thru consumers during fieldwork. To ensure a relevant respondent base was achieved, all participants were screened to include those who had at least one drive-thru occasion in the last 30 days. An extensive cross tabulation of the respondent sample data was conducted in order to identify major trends, demographic/behavioral themes, and other nuances in the data.