The latest data is in: customer transactions at quick service restaurants have almost entirely recovered to the same levels as last year, while full service brands are still facing a 30% decline. Quick service restaurants have enjoyed more popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic due to their abundance of drive-thru windows and use of online ordering technology.

But your quick service brand may be dealing with a new problem. Traffic is unpredictable, which makes staffing schedules more difficult to optimize. There are some days of the month where you see overwhelming drive-thru traffic as staff unpredictably call out sick. As counties reverse and reinstate social distancing regulations, locations in a particular state might suddenly experience drops in traffic. How can your brand optimize operations for COVID-19 at a low cost while reducing wait times? Adopting technology can help your restaurants adapt to the unpredictability of COVID-19 and capture more market share in the long run.

Identify Bottlenecks

The first step in optimizing your operations is to identify bottlenecks that are unique to your restaurants during COVID-19. Are drive-thru orders coming in faster than usual? Are there too many staff taking care of to-go orders, and can they be allocated to handle drive-thru orders instead? Computer Vision measures line lengths, wait times, and opt-out rates in real time across your whole restaurant so it can help your managers optimize operations without needing to hire more staff. The technology automatically alerts managers about bottlenecks so that they can allocate staff more efficiently.

Shorten Lines

When drive-thru lines are long, Computer Vision simply sends an alert to the manager, who is then able to deploy staff with Line Busters to shorten lines. These line-busting tablets enable staff to enter orders and take payments at the car window, thus speeding up lines and satisfying customers. In addition, Computer Vision can identify repeat guests, allowing staff to pull up their loyalty profiles on the spot. This enables staff to offer personalized upsells and speed up service.

Promote Social Distancing

According to an April survey, 86% of diners would consider continuing to maintain distance from other diners, while 83% would avoid crowded waiting areas. This suggests that diners are wary of interacting with staff members too. To promote social distancing, you can deploy In-Store Kiosks that enable customers to place to-go orders and pay the check on their own. Customers can access their loyalty profile to view past customizations and personalized upsells, therefore increasing sales and throughput. In-Store Kiosks free up counter staff to accommodate for more drive-thru orders too.

Go Contactless

For a completely touchless experience, you can deploy a contactless dining solution that enables customers to order and pay from their phone in a few seconds. Customers simply scan a QR code to access the menu online, order, and pay. The system is highly adaptable to various restaurant models. QR code stickers can be placed in your parking lot, curbside, or restaurant lobby depending on customers habits. The solution allows for loyalty integration for easy reward redemption, as well as email collection for targeted promotions to encourage repeat visits.

The restaurant industry is more competitive than ever as customers look for safe and quick off-premise dining experiences. Quick-service restaurants require a solution that makes their off-premise operations more efficient to handle increased demand at scale, while remaining nimble for changing pandemic circumstances. Our enterprise-grade technology enables your brand to detect operational bottlenecks across hundreds of locations and instantly adjust to changes without needing to hire more staff. Contact us at to discuss with our experienced team about the best solution for your brand.