It’s been nearly a century since the drive-thru lane was invented, but it has evolved slowly even as wait times reach new peaks. The first drive-in restaurants utilized roller-skating carhops to guarantee diners quick service. Somewhere along the way, quick-service restaurants (QSRs) added speakers and microphones for clear communication between staff and guests.
But in the past few years, it seems like we’ve gone backwards a few steps. Leading QSR chains have rushed to permanently trim the number of items on their drive-thru menu boards for the purpose of speeding up the experience. Isn’t there a more feasible solution that doesn’t risk irking loyal customers?
Digital drive-thru menu boards are a cost-efficient way to speed up entire drive-thru operations. Yet according to the 2019 Drive-Thru Study of leading drive-thru chains, only 19.3 percent of all visits included a digital menu board. Thanks to their range of benefits, digital menu boards can generate immediate return-on-investment (ROI) for QSR operators.
Digital menu boards consist of large lit-up screens for displaying menu items and promotions. This means that they’re also easier to read for guests in a range of weather conditions.
Rather than reprinting pieces of the menu, managers can edit digital menu boards in real time. They can adjust pricing on the go or add last-minute promotions. They can offer a wider range of choices during low traffic hours or show a select few best-selling items during long wait times. Operators can stay flexible while catering to their guests’ needs.
With technology comes smarter, optimized selling decisions. Digital menu boards can pull information on the most popularly paired items to optimize cross-selling and boost guest spend. This can result in a $16,000 increase in yearly stores per unit, according to the 2020 Drive-Thru Study.
In a 2019 survey of US and UK fast food eaters, more than half expressed a desire for the ability to customize menu options. Dynamic menu boards meet this demand. These digital menu boards can adjust dynamically in real time based on guest preferences, time of day, inventory, and other operating factors. By doing so, the solution maximizes cross-selling revenue and guest satisfaction.
How does this personalization work? First, computer vision identifies repeat guests. Next, the menu board displays recommendations based on guest data to increase check sizes, while promoting items with short preparation time when lines are long. The Presto platform stores detailed data on guest allergies, dietary restrictions, and past orders that can be used to personalize menus.
An optimized and personalized menu significantly shortens guest ordering times. According to the 2020 Drive-Thru Study, digital menu boards reduced service times by an average of 12.3 seconds.
The drive-thru has finally reached its limelight moment, but will your concept benefit? Your competition is as tough as ever. Most major quick-service restaurant (QSR) chains report that drive-thru sales make up roughly 70 percent of their total revenue. Demand has become so high that drive-thru operators have a new problem to tackle: wearingly long lines and wait times.
A robust technology solution that integrates with your POS and offers real-time reporting across thousands of locations is necessary in the race to lead among enterprise QSRs. We offer digital menu boards that are built for the purpose of resolving operational bottlenecks and reducing drive-thru wait times. They can adjust dynamically in real time based on guest preferences, time of day, and kitchen pipeline. To receive a demo on this enterprise-grade solution, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.