Why Your Drive-Thru Makes Less Than It Should
Restaurant goers today value speedy service. In fact, statistics show that millennials especially are drawn toward dining situations with limited human interaction. With today’s surplus of technological advances, people expect their food service to be aligned with the hustle and bustle of their daily lives, and opt for experiences where little action is required. Drive-thrus make this on-the-go dream a reality.
But the success of a restaurant’s drive-thru almost solely depends on its efficiency. No one wants to realize that their order was made wrong 5 miles too late, or to wait in a long line. In fact, long lines of waiting cars are typically the reason people leave a drive thru, or avoid it altogether. And those drivers are less likely to give the restaurant in question a second chance. Losing this business is a serious threat to the success of your location. When a drive-thru operates quickly and accurately, customers are satisfied. This means that drive-thru lines and serving efficiency must be consistently monitored.
A study conducted by Time Magazine found that in terms of drive-thru customer service, the most successful chains scored big with polite employees. Ironically, people prefer minimum engagement with employees, but react positively to “eye contact, pleasant demeanors, and smiling.”
The other factors that determined the best drive-thrus were quick ordering, serving times, and accurate orders. However, speed and accuracy often don’t coexist, as drive-thrus that take orders rapidly may fall prone to messing up orders. Internal video monitoring empowers owners and managers to keep close watch on these operations to ensure that employees are handling both jobs efficiently.
When it comes to these aspects of your drive-thru, the best asset to help you analyze is your video surveillance. Because reliable security allows you to keep watch on operations at all times, “speed bumps” like drive-aways, crime, and faulty customer service can be examined properly and subsequently improved.
In addition, dwell times commonly plague restaurants and reflect a flaw in proper surveillance. Customers may choose to drive away if the line opposes the core of “fast” food. To prevent lost business, restaurants can succeed with video monitoring and “Pull Forward Alerts” at the most critical points of the drive thru, i.e. the Danger Zone and Presenter Booth, to ensure the kind of service that will win return customers. Speed of Service, or SOS, makes it so that ideal service times can be put into place. Impeccable surveillance goes the extra mile by empowering managers to stay on top of these operations remotely with alerts when service time is exceeded.
Evaluating performance provides a tool for managers to get employees involved, as well. Reports on which shifts or employees achieve the shortest dwell times can be used to give recognition, and the awareness that each customer interaction is being monitored acts as a reminder to move them along as efficiently as possible.
During quiet downtimes or late at night, especially in 24-hour locations, a different and highly impactful source of loss arises: theft by employees or third parties. Reducing theft not only increases a restaurant’s profit, but also the level of workplace safety. Installing systems that ensure every millisecond is recorded in clear video enable efficient monitoring of cash transactions, order completion, and customer/employee interactions. 
While fast food customers today generally avoid as much human interaction as possible, they respond well to the work that employees and managers put into making the drive-thru experience run efficiently and accurately. Your drive-thru is designed for speed, and your security and service should support it. By decreasing dwell times, encouraging great customer service, and preventing theft with the help of the right system, your drive-thru will have your business booming and your customers satisfied long after they drive away.