Drive-thru technologies continue to advance, delivering stronger ROI for franchisees by increasing sales, reducing wait times and labor costs. However, choosing the right technology partner is key to long-lasting success.

With Americans visiting the drive-thru about 6 billion times each year, it’s hard to imagine that quick service and fast-casual franchise chains started operating with just a cash register and had to count inventory by hand. That has completely changed, today, with drive-thrus being a lifeline for fast-food chains, many leading franchisees are moving at the speed of technology.

Technology is baked into nearly every part of franchise operations, helping franchisees serve guests faster in the drive-thru and more efficiently, track inventory, train staff, market to customers and make more sales. Using enterprise-grade technology to automate and optimize the drive-thru will continue to advance in the coming years, as the industry grows ever more sophisticated and competitive amid labor shortages and inflation.

How to choose the right technology partner?

Here are the five key components when selecting the right technology partner to ensure the best return on investment for you to automate and optimize your drive-thru franchise operations:.

Handles Data with Speed

To stay competitive and keep up with demand, it’s critical for franchisees to optimize drive-thru efficiency and speed, enable automation, and create a seamless guest experience while offloading staff to tend to prep orders and ensure quality. Artificial intelligence-powered solutions have to play an important role here.

As franchisees implement the latest A.I. voice and computer vision technology in the drive-thru, the right technology partner will ensure that the A.I.-powered solution be able to process orders faster and more efficiently into the restaurants’ existing POS system without any delay and in parallel provide drive-thru guests a seamless, faster and more personalized drive-thru experience.

With the right technology partner, the enterprise-grade solution will be able to handle data with speed and accuracy, whether the data resides on servers inside the firewall or not. Each application that uses the infrastructure takes up bandwidth, storage, and system resources, and the new technology must be able to tackle and manage data without sacrificing speed and accuracy.

Ensures Compliance & Security

In the past few years due to the pandemic, many restaurant chains probably found themselves having to change their operations to incorporate mobile apps, online delivery platforms, touchless payment processing technology, among other significant investments in new technology to better serve guests in a more touchless socially distanced world.

This makes it critical for franchisees to consider how each new piece of technology might add risks and change security demands for their operations. Choosing the right technology partner that has the highest cybersecurity and data protection integrated into the solution provides franchisees peace of mind that their system’s larger IT infrastructures, network security, and any guest data are protected.

Implements Seamlessly

The majority of quick service and fast-casual restaurants open 7 days a week with almost no downtime, so it’s essential to work with the right technology partner that can provide a seamless implementation to upgrade your drive-thru operations without interfering with your franchise’s day-to-day operations and operate without disruption to drive-thru guests. To avoid impeding end-user workflows, enterprise-grade drive-thru solutions should allow staff to carry on as usual while technology upgrades and implementation are underway.

The best technological investments require regular maintenance and regular upkeep to function at their best, so it’s best to sign-up with a technology partner that offers a subscription model so that the technology partner takes care of all the maintenance and can help troubleshoot and service the system at any time whenever it is needed so that the new technology provides the best experience for drive-thru guests and zero hassle for staff.

Integrates with Existing Concept

Even in 2022, the large majority of drive-thrus are still running legacy POS systems that have become increasingly obsolete. Despite the bottlenecks and aging hardware, franchise owners remain wary about making any major upgrades. Many owners are concerned about the amount of time it will take to migrate systems – getting all their staff from multiple locations trained. Some are simply unaware of the full benefits and the freedom that comes with automation and optimization upgrades.

Being innovative involves being able to integrate with the franchisee’s existing concept, POS system, and IT framework to minimize business disruption and leverage prior IT investments. A major benefit of working with Presto is that it has the resources, expertise and technology to integrate with any existing concept even if the drive-thru chain is still using a legacy POS system.

Scales for Growth

Drive-thru franchises of all sizes can benefit from advanced automation technology in the drive-thru to move guests through the lanes faster, personalized menus and upsells, increase labor productivity, and provide a better guest experience.

Presto’s next-gen drive-thru solution leveraging A.I. voice assistants and strategically placed web cameras in the drive-thru lanes and kitchen allows franchisees to leverage the power of A.I. technology to increase efficiency during the order-taking process, line busting and order accuracy. This in turn frees up your staff to focus attention and skill where it matters most: on running and growing your drive-thru business, food preparation and ensuring guests are happy.

As small and medium franchises grow to hundreds of locations, they need to contend with making sure their technological deployments grow with them. Presto has the resources, expertise and capability to scale its next-gen A.I.-powered drive-thru solution to hundreds and thousands of locations seamlessly and quickly.

Return on Investment (ROI)

While it may seem like a good idea to buy a cheaper piece of equipment or solution, it’s important to do your homework beforehand to see if this will be the best investment for your franchise business. When franchise owners cut corners on technology, you usually end up paying more long-term with replacements and costly upgrade services.

By choosing the right technology partner with the right automation solution for your drive-thru, the return on investment should pay for itself on day one.

Besides using an ROI calculator to estimate the return on investment, you can also look at some of the key benefits of implementing new technology for your drive-thru to assess the likelihood of a positive ROI:

  • Automation: Manual workflows and bottlenecks in the drive-thru are costly and inefficient, so the greater the automation component, the greater the potential ROI.
  • Repeatability: How often will drive-thru guests and staff use the solution? The more often a solution is used, the greater the ROI.
  • Data: The greater the potential to use the data from A.I.-driven analytics to predict trends, personalize drive-thru experiences and adapt upsells, the greater the potential ROI.

As a leading provider of enterprise-grade drive-thru automation solutions, Presto’s A.I.-powered solution with A.I. voice assistants and computer vision greatly benefit franchisees by improving order accuracy, operating costs, upsells, and service speed. Once implemented, franchise owners can increase sales, save costs and meet customer demands with superior service while boosting employee productivity by automating the most mundane tasks. Presto has the expertise, capital, commitment, and a robust supply chain in place to deploy the technology to tens, hundreds, and thousands of locations in the shortest period of time and best of all allows franchise owners to stay ahead of the curve and offers a drive-thru experience that compels happy guests to keep coming back for more.

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.