Technology such as computer vision is leading the future of drive-thrus by surfacing customer insights, increasing throughput, and enhancing the guest experience.

For many working in the quick-service and fast-casual restaurant industry, working the drive-thru simply means working all of the jobs plus the drive-thru. For some of us, you may have worked at your local burger chain as a summer job in high school. Do you recall your first drive-thru shift? Your coworkers probably told you to get ready to wear many hats.

Not much has changed over the years, except operators are now more than ever looking at key performance indicators in the drive-thru to measure success and finding creative ways to optimize revenue and reduce drive-offs.

  • Speed of service
  • Wait times
  • Order accuracy

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, “The restaurant industry added 40,800 jobs in June and now employs 11,938,000 workers—a figure that’s climbed 27 percent since June 2020 yet remains roughly 700,000 below per-COVID marks.”

With this unprecedented labor shortage, increases in food cost and inflation, it’s paramount that quick-service and fast-casual restaurant operators use the latest in drive-thru automation to retain their staff and build a strong infrastructure in their drive-thru to weather industry challenges and optimize growth. Without turning to technology, their drive-thru team will eventually run out of steam, and the workload cannot be sustained without compromising order accuracy and superior service which guests have come to expect.

To accurately measure speed of service, wait times, and order accuracy in the drive-thru, operators should leverage the use of smart web cameras not only in the drive-thru lane but in the kitchen as well.

Here are the key touch points that drive-thru operators should be measuring:

  • Guest vehicle enters the drive-thru (Enter)
  • Time to menu board
  • Time to place order
  • Time to the payment window
  • Time it takes to process payment
  • Time to the pick-up window
  • Time at the pick-up window
  • Guest vehicle exits drive-thru (Exit)

It’s no longer just measuring the time a car enters the drive-thru, and when they pull away, it’s analyzing all the touch points in between that will help restaurant operators optimize their operations, reduce costs and provide the best experience for their diners.

By optimizing and measuring each step of the drive-thru process, the drive-thru team will feel less rushed and stressed, allowing customers more time to order and spend more money. In return, with smart analytics in place, the kitchen can be prompted on what items should be prepared ahead of time, based on historical trends on day of week and time of day to reduce wait times at the pick-up window.

Advance your drive-thru with computer vision

Technology such as computer vision is leading the future of drive-thrus by surfacing customer insights, increasing throughput, and enhancing the guest experience. QSRs should seek solutions that achieve the following objectives:

1. Drive-thru metrics.

Find a solution that provides valuable insights about your drive-thru key performance indicators (KPIs), including historical data on peak times, most ordered items, and major events such as sports or local events in the area.

2. Increase throughput.

Measure and accelerate speed of service with computer vision and real-time suggestions, forecast demand to keep the kitchen informed, and identify bottlenecks to reduce friction.

3. Enhance the guest experience.

Provide suggestions based on trends and adaptive upselling.

Presto Vision has the capability of measuring and providing smart A.I.-driven analytics for each step in the drive-thru to help restaurants optimize their everyday operations. In combination with Presto Voice, drive-thru operators can take one step further in automatng the process by implementing a human-like drive-thru voice assistant to take orders which and send them automatically to the POS system. This helps alleviate some of the burden on their drive-thru team so that they can focus on fulfilling orders accurately and faster to keep the cars flowing smoothly through the drive-thru lane.

The key is to act quickly. In many ways, the playing field in the quick-service industry has been leveled by COVID-19, meaning that the efforts you take right now to ensure value for your guests will have an immediate high impact on your brand loyalty and keep your guests coming back for more. Contact Presto today and we will work to rapidly deploy a suitable solution for you.

About Presto

Presto overlays next-gen digital solutions onto the physical world. Our enterprise-grade touch, vision, and voice technologies help hospitality businesses thrive while delighting guests. With over 100 million guests using Presto each month and 300,000 systems shipped, we are one of the largest technology providers in the industry.

Founded at M.I.T. in 2008, Presto is headquartered in Silicon Valley, Calif. with customers including top 20 hospitality chains such as Applebee’s, Aramark, Chili’s Grill & Bar, Denny’s, and Outback Steakhouse.