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Pulling Ahead at the Drive-Thru with Technology

Stacy Bailey

There’s no doubt that the pandemic drove more consumers to get their meals on the go. Drive-thru traffic increased 26 percent in the April, May, and June of 2020 and represented 42 percent of all restaurant traffic during those months. By December, drive-thru lanes accounted for 44 percent of off-premises orders industry wide.1 To meet this developing demand for drive-thru orders, operators should know the new modern consumer needs and the corresponding, emerging innovations.

Consumers are calling for safety and speed at the drive thru. This has led to an increasing need for contactless ordering and payment methods such as mobile apps to expedite the entire process. Forty-five percent of consumers and 65 percent of Gen Z consumers want more mobile ordering options1, and more than 90 percent of consumers don’t expect to wait more than 10 minutes when ordering ahead via a mobile app.2 However, the need for speed isn’t the only thing your customers are looking for. They want order accuracy and convenience, too.

According to a study conducted by QSR Magazine, 75 percent of surveyed respondents cited convenience as the number one reason for choosing drive-thru.1 To be convenient, a first step for operators is to make sure your website, mobile app, and POS systems are fully integrated.2 From start to finish, you need a warm, personal touch, complemented by state-of-the-art technology to streamline the experience. Consider automated car detection, digital menus, smart menu boards, and AI-curated personalization to feed consumer hunger for an omni-channel presence.2

If you want to create an experience that keeps customers coming back, a combination of hospitality and technology must be on the menu. This is how you answer the new modern consumer needs. So, give your operation a start—and begin pulling ahead of the competition at the drive-thru with innovation.

1 QSR, Special Report, September 2021 

2 QSR, How COVID-19 Impacted Restaurant Technology in 2021, February 9, 2021

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