Drive-Thru Line busting with Tablets Improves Efficiency, Boosts Sales for QSRs

For QSRs, drive-thrus can make up anywhere from 50-70 percent of annual sales. For this reason, it’s crucial that drive-thrus are optimized to insure efficiencies and a high level of customer service. We’ve already discussed a couple of ways QSRs are doing this, including clear communication between the guest and drive-thru attendant, high quality, durable equipment and digital menu boards that can confirm orders in real time.

Now, especially during peak hours, QSRs are implementing line busting, where an employee positioned about six cars back from the traditional order window can input a guest’s order directly into a handheld computer. That order is immediately transmitted to the kitchen via a Wi-Fi connection, enabling the kitchen to get a jump on future orders and thus shortening the customer’s idle time at the window, awaiting their order. Lessening this time means more cars passing through the drive-thru daily and an increase in sales. Additionally, this concierge-like service adds a personal touch to the drive-thru experience and also helps increase order accuracy.

Recently, QSR Magazine reported that Del Taco had implemented a similar line busting solution, which resulted in window wait time being cut by about 25 seconds, a very significant number. Let’s say the average wait time at the drive-thru is two minutes without a line busting solution. If 25 seconds is shaved off each drive-thru customer’s visit, that QSR could serve nearly 15 more customers every hour. Day after day, these additional customers will add up to a significant boost in total sales.

There are numerous tablet options available for use as a line busting tool. However, we recommend that QSRs use tablets that are built for the outdoor environment “line busters” will find themselves in. That means they should be fully-ruggedized to handle accidental drops, feature all-weather design to handle hot summer days or snowy winter nights, and include a daylight-viewable screen to enable easy input and confirmation of orders even in direct sunlight. These tablets should also be lightweight, ergonomic and easily integrate into existing POS systems to minimize installation costs. A rugged, reliable tablet computer will ensure employees can take orders on the fly, optimize service and increase the total number of customers served during peak hours to maximize profits and enhance the overall customer experience in the drive-thru. When was the last time you passed through a drive-thru? Did someone take your order in advance of the traditional window with a tablet? Let us know in the comments below.

Panasonic offers a number of drive-thru line busting solutions including the FZ-A1 and JT-B1 Android™-powered Toughpad tablets, FZ-G1 Windows® Toughpad tablet and Toughbook H2 Windows Tablet PC.