Unless you’re brand new to the restaurant industry, you must be aware of QSR Magazine’s significance; standing as one of the most popular and influential resources in the restaurant industry. 

Last month’s issue of the QSR magazine released a massive study in recent drive-thru trends. This timely report has proven invaluable, giving restaurant owners insight into exactly why drive-thru businesses are booming.

Here are the three key takeaways from QSR Magazine’s 2020 Drive-Thru Study.

Drive-Thru Makes People Feel Safe

The first key takeaway from QSR magazine’s 2020 Drive-Thru Study is that people feel safer taking the drive-thru option. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit globally earlier this year, everyone’s priority is to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines and minimize the chances of getting it. Drive-thrus ensure minimum human and external surface interaction, which appeals to potential customers.

The best way to capitalize on this perception is to provide customers with a safe and clean takeaway experience. Providing mobile payment options, installing kiosks, and regular cleaning instills confidence in potential customers’ minds. While you’re at it, make sure to clean the drive-thru station’s exterior as that will be the first thing customers notice before anything else.

Also, don’t forget to provide your staff with hand sanitizers, masks, and gloves to protect them and your customers from COVID-19. The pandemic situation is likely to last a while with no cure in sight; consider counting the expenses for staff safety as a regular part of your overhead costs.

Customer Experience Is King

The second key takeaway from the 2020 QSR Magazine Drive-Thru study is that drive-thru customer experience has improved in leaps and bounds in recent years. Samples from the last couple of months seem to indicate that customers are more likely to visit a restaurant if it had a drive-thru, and a certain percentage of them would like to have the choice between indoor dining and takeout.

This demonstrates that there’s incredible demand for the drive-thru experience, but the guest experience needs to be optimal. The critical success factor here is good communication, with a multitude of signage and a loud and clear intercom system.

Advanced drive-thru intercom systems can go a long way to help you out in this regard. With all the hustle and bustle going on, clear communication to customers is the best way to clear orders fast. 

If your intercom system isn’t loud or clear enough, sticking to this simple principle turns into a chore.

Some of the most popular restaurants and fast-food franchises are known for being generous with utensils and condiments. That extra spoonful of white mayo might seem excessive in the short run but will earn you enough brownie points to turn a one-time customer into a recurring customer.

Your staff is an integral part of the drive-thru experience, so training them and taking care of their on-spot needs should be a top priority. A well-trained staff can not only leave a positive impression on your customers but speed up the ordering process by initiating a conversation and suggesting menu options according to the customer’s preference.  

Separate Pickup

The third key takeaway from the study is that people prefer two-lane drive-thrus instead of single-lane drive-thrus. The research indicates that people would instead have a separate drive-thru line for pickup than waiting in the same line for picking orders. While this setup might seem like extra expense and hassle, it also offers some distinct advantages.

Firstly, it reduces the waiting time for ordering and serving. During rush hours, people have to line up and wait for minutes before getting their turn to order their takeout. By introducing a double-lane system, you reduce the waiting period for both orders and pickups. This allows you to serve more customers within the same time-frame, increasing your sales.

Secondly, it allows you to improve hygiene standards by increasing the distance between vehicles and staff. When customers notice that your business is looking out for their safety, they are more likely to display brand loyalty towards your restaurant. Consider adding an extra lane or even creating a curbside/parking lot solution for pickup orders to separate them from drive-thru orders.

Ride into the Future

With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging on, drive-thrus will likely see a more significant surge in popularity in the months or even years to come. Consider adapting to the new normal and improve your drive-thru experience to sustain your business.