A drive-thru can represent between 20-70% of a restaurant's business, meaning in many cases; more transactions go out the window than over the counter. In order to bring back customers, a drive-thru experience must be well planned and executed. From menuboard placement, to vehicle spacing all the way to a well stocked window station.
OPTIMIZE MENUBOARD PLACEMENT IN YOUR DRIVE THROUGH
Menuboards should be well lit and set at an angle to read upon approach. Speakers should be clear, and greeters warm and friendly. Placing a menuboard further back and allowing for proper vehicle spacing allows a kitchen time to get the order completed while another order is being entered, resulting in even flow. A pre-menuboard can help customers make their decision before getting to the order point.
EQUIPMENT PLACEMENT IN THE DRIVE-THRU STATION
Equipment placement in a drive-thru booth should allow for employees to always face a customer as they drive up. Having a back turned to a customer impacts the perception of friendly customer service. Organized, efficient and dense equipment placement allows the employee to serve the drive-thru customer with everything at hand without running off to find a sauce packet.
DRIVE-THRU ORGANIZATION TOOLS
Drive-thru's should be designed for easily working through your menu's busiest rush period. Napkins, straws, cup holders, bags, sauces, cutlery, etc - all should be at-hand or no more than a step away with ample storage capacity. Some of the biggest complaints customers have after driving away is lack of napkins, straws or cutlery needed to consume their meal. Worse yet, order inaccuracies bring frustrated customers back to your front counter. Keeping orders organized and properly fulfilled is your biggest strength in winning repeat drive-thru business.
BEVERAGES IN THE DRIVE-THRU
Nearly every order that comes through your drive-thru will include a beverage. Beverages should be poured and capped in the drive-thru, and the ice should be dispensed - never scooped. Bottled beverages should be cold and teas and coffee kept hot to meet customer expectations. And don’t forget the add-ins; sugar, cream, lemons, and cup holders all need a designated place in a well-stocked drive-thru.
Drive-thru business is booming. Be sure you are ready to help grow your drive-thru business by paying attention to the customer experience, decreasing the time it takes for customers to get through your line with good menuboard placement, and stay organized and well stocked in your area. Hopefully these tips will help you see areas you are already doing well in, and areas that might need further improvement.