Drive-Thru Concepts and Trends for QSRs - Food Truck, Coffee Stand, Intercom Headset System

Driving Sales Through Drive-Thru Service Takes Detailed Planning

Groundbreaking Drive-Thru Concepts and Trends for QSRs


To successfully boost drive-thru sales through restaurant remodels, foodservice retailers should focus on step-by-step planning and close collaboration, according to HFA Architects and Engineers' Steven Baker.

In "Reinventing QSRs — One Square Foot at a Time," an advisory piece for decision-makers in the fast-casual and quick-serve space, the architect and co-leader of HFA's quick-service restaurant (QSR) team notes that chains across the country continue to reconfigure buildings and sites for faster and easier pickup of online orders. However, this comes with significant challenges.

"Adapting QSRs can be a big undertaking," Baker wrote. "In our experience, these projects run most efficiently when all parties collaborate and communicate from the outset and when key questions are asked and addressed in the right order."

Up to 75 percent of QSR sales occur at drive-thru, a trend partly fueled by the rapid growth of online ordering apps from brands like McDonald's, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A and others. At the same time, fast-casual brands like Panera Bread, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Sweetgreen are honing their approaches to drive-thru and pickup spaces. Some are experimenting with speech-recognition software to take drive-thru orders.DRIVETHRUCITY

To capitalize on demand, restaurant operators need to rethink how their sites and stores function.

"For existing locations, the biggest trend is toward demolishing part or all of the dining room," Baker wrote. "This frees up the square footage needed to increase back-of-house/kitchen capacity and/or support more drive-thru service."

Some QSR brands are exploring prototype locations that eliminate dining areas entirely, such as Wawa Inc.'s drive-thru-only store in Morrisville, Pa. Additionally, HFA's QSR group has consulted with several restaurant clients on higher-capacity equipment that enables them to meet growing demand without requiring additional square footage.

Digital kiosks are also on the rise, as they allow more customers to use their phones to place orders and provide table numbers directly from the dining room, with no counter ordering needed.

HFA's role in restaurant remodels includes inquiring into technical factors and constraints, such as whether the client's proposed changes would require additional plumbing, electrical or grease-interceptor capacity. The company's engineers also communicate with municipal officials and inspectors throughout the permitting process. Municipal parking ratios tend to be an important variable.

"When restaurants ramp up drive-thru capacity, they need to avoid demising too many parking spaces, which could violate those municipally established parking minimums," Baker said. "Our QSR team has years of experience in helping restaurants' legal and real estate experts sort through such questions."

It is also important to understand how protective lease clauses of fellow shopping center tenants may limit remodel options. A company that seeks to remove all windows and convert a location to drive-thru-only could need to get specific approvals from the landlord and/or co-tenants.DRIVETHRUCITY

These potential obstacles related to utilities, parking ratios, lease restrictions and more should be addressed early, prior to the release of renderings and detailed plans for municipal review.

"At HFA, we're excited to be a part of the QSR world's successful adaptation," Baker concluded. "We also see broad potential to apply lessons from these projects to our grocery, retail and c-store clients as they pursue their own creative strategies in the face of rapid change."

What’s Propelling Restaurant Drive-Thru Innovations?

The first-ever restaurant drive-thru concept was launched way back in 1947. Red’s Giant Hamburg drive-thru allowed customers to drive up to a window to place orders and receive their food. Since then drive-thrus have consistently delivered a significant chunk of the revenue in the QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) category.

COVID-19 has accelerated the need for restaurants to have a comprehensive drive-thru strategy in place and focus on drive-thru innovation This was primarily driven by:

Heightened anxiety about health and safety
Need for greater convenience and flexibility to order food
By the end of 2021, every major restaurant brand reported significant drive-through sales growth and drive-thru accounted for 52% of the customer traffic share for QSRs DRIVETHRUCITY

“Among the options for restaurant ordering, the most popular—the preference of more than a third of respondents (37%)—was the drive-thru.”

This trend is not just restricted to QSRs. Even full-service chains, cafes, and pizzerias that have traditionally invested in dine-in spaces are expanding drive-thru options for customers. Recently, Applebees revealed that they are planning to aggressively roll out drive-thrus to strengthen off-premise service capability.

The drive-thru has now become the new battleground for restaurants eager to attract customers, delight them with fast service and conveniently packed food, and get them to keep coming back for more.

In short, delivering an amazing customer experience at the drive-thru is the catalyst for investments in new drive-thru concepts and designs.

Restaurant brands are now investing in a suite of technology solutions and drive-thru concepts that delivers an amazing customer experience across the customer engagement lifecycle for the drive-thru channel.DRIVETHRUCITY

Drive-Thru Technology and Solutions

Speed of Service

Upgraded online and mobile ordering

AI-driven digital menu and order confirmation boards

Bluetooth sensors and mobile apps for personalized drive-thru experience

Diverse mobile and online payment options

Dynamic menu and menu rationalization based on complexity and inventory

Kitchen automation

Employee Interaction

Gamification to improve employee engagement

Video management systems to access customer interaction videos for training

POS with forced prompts or modifiers to upsell related items or premium toppings

Automated check-in alerts for employees to serve customers with pre-orders

Order Accuracy

Computervision to track order assembly and packaging

Advanced speakers and microphones with noise suppression technology

Secure identity validation at drive-thru pickup window

1. Expanded Drive-Thru Lanes
Expanded drive-thru lanes
In June 2022, Taco Bell launched the Taco Bell Defy which boasts of four drive-thru lanes, food delivery lifts that eliminate direct contact between customers and employees, and interactive audio-video technology for customer service. Separate drive-thru lanes for app pre-orders, drive-in customers, and third-party delivery agents allow Taco Bell to maximize the speed of service and minimize wait times.DRIVETHRUCITY
Brands like Panera, McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC are rolling out updated restaurant designs with increased drive-thru capacity and smaller dine-in areas.

Adding additional lanes is not the only option to increase drive-thru throughput. Tim Hortons has launched tandem drive-thrus that come with two sets of digital menu boards and intercom in a single lane designed to take orders from two cars at a time.

Adding additional drive-thru lanes can be challenging as restaurants have to proactively address points of customer friction, manage traffic volumes, and enable seamless integration with POS systems.

Here is an extract from an article that summarizes the real-world challenges that Schlotzsky’s experienced when they piloted a double-drive-thru, with one drive-thru on each side of the restaurant.DRIVETHRUCITY

“When you have two menu boards where you’re taking orders at the same time, we really had to figure out how that flows through into our kitchen. And when two menu boards are taking orders at the same time, we had to equip our drive-thru make station with a headset so that they could listen to both the first drive-thru lane and the second drive-thru lane, and start the production of those products before the guests finished ordering.”

“In the early days of launching this double drive-thru, Schlotzsky’s employees had to train customers that were going to the pickup lane because the service counter is now on the passenger side, which is not what customers are used to. The store needed to go back and modify signage and striping on the asphalt to make directional flow clear to customers and improve traffic confusion.”

2. Intelligent Outdoor Digital Menu Boards (ODMBs)
Intelligent Outdoor Digital Menu Boards (ODMBs)
Outdoor digital menu boards play a critical role in helping drive-thru customers make an informed choice of what to order and speed up the drive-thru experience. The latest generation of digital menu boards are connected to the cloud and have the ability to dynamically change the menu and pricing based on diverse input from other restaurant applications.

Some of the recent innovations in personalizing the drive-thru experience includeDRIVETHRUCITY

Digital menu boards linked to mobile apps that rely on the phone’s location data to trigger menu board personalization when the customer drives up to the restaurant location.
Speciality Bluetooth devices integrated with the drive-thru speaker post to trigger menu board personalization, enable the customer to redeem reward points, and make payments using their mobile phone.
Machine learning-driven menu boards not only suggest a personalized menu based on the purchase history, external factors (such as the weather), or daypart, but also optimize the menu to eliminate order processing complexity.
McDonald’s implemented Dynamic Yield’s personalization platform to offer a dynamic menu at their drive-thrus. In the US, McDonald’s is able to show menu items based on factors such as time of day, real-time restaurant traffic information, and popularity to help provide an enhanced customer experience.

Restaurant Brands International, the parent company of QSR brands such as Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Popeyes had already started rolling out personalized ODMBs in 2021 across thousands of locations.

3. Gamification for Drive-Thru Employees
Gamification for Drive-Thru Employees
Serving customers at the drive-thru can get monotonous for employees. Critical performance metrics such as average speed of service and order value are reviewed periodically by the manager or supervisor and employees get to hear about it only when they fall short of the productivity benchmarks or for training purposes. Gamification of drive-thru tasks addresses this problem and significantly improves employee participation and engagement.

Here are some of the ways gamification can improve employee engagement and productivity:

Drive-thru leader boards can show where employees stand compared to their colleagues and introduce a positive competitive spirit at work.
Restaurant chains can conduct friendly contests between locations with bragging rights and offer rewards as an upside for top-performing locations.
As critical metrics are now transparent and available for all employees in real-time, employees readily take ownership of performance improvement plans.
I3 International’s drive-thru leaderboards offer real-time performance snapshots of drive-thru employees giving employees and restaurant managers a live drive-thru customer service performance update.DRIVETHRUCITY

4. Computer Vision and Video Analytics at the Drive-Thru
Computer Vision and Video Analytics at the Drive-Thru
Video feeds from the cameras in the drive-thru area can be analyzed by computer vision algorithms in real-time to improve sales, improve order accuracy, reduce chargeback claims, flag food safety issues, and track line dropouts before purchase.

Computer vision can read license plates of cars and even identify the age profile of the occupants inside the car. This data is useful to recognize repeat customers and show a personalized menu or offer exclusive perks as the customer pulls into the drive-thru digital menu post.
I3 Internation’s video analytics platform can recognize repeat customers by reading the number plates of cars at the drive-thru. Once a repeat customer is identified, the platform will automatically display relevant information to the employees at the drive-thru to recommend favorite products and offer a personalized guest experience.DRIVETHRUCITY

Video cameras can identify repeat customers at the drive-thru by reading the registration plates

Ensuring order accuracy has a direct impact on sales performance and customer loyalty. Computer vision and AI applications connected to cameras in the kitchen can pinpoint mismatches in order assembly before the items are delivered to the customer.
In addition to identifying customers, computer vision can track drive-thru line dropout data. This information when mapped to dayparts, locations, weather, and day of the week can uncover valuable insights for QSRs. These insights can help restaurants optimize menu complexity and staffing, or even re-design the drive-thru lanes.DRIVETHRUCITY

Presto Vision’s software allows restaurants to improve drive-thru sales and delight customers.

A Deloitte study has found that customers are willing to pay a premium if they can see evidence of cleanliness and safe food handling practices. Computer vision and AI applications can spot instances when prescribed food preparation and handling processes are not followed so restaurants can train their employees better and ensure complete safety compliance.DRIVETHRUCITY

5. AI-Based Voice Assistance
AI-Based Voice Assistance
Voice is a critical component of the drive-thru customer experience, and hence more QSRs are investing in installing advanced two-way audio communication systems at the drive-thrus that are designed to

Reduce outbound (kitchen noise) and inbound noise (traffic or engine sounds), to improve order accuracy and eliminate delays due to miscommunication or poorly understood order details.
Use automated audio alerts for employees to manage customers at the drive-thru, curbside pickup slots, or 3rd-party delivery pickups.
With AI-enabled voice technology, voice can now go beyond just improving communication. It can potentially reduce the need for employees to handle all the drive-thru transactions. This is especially useful in a tough labor market where staffing and retention are significant challenges confronting QSRs.

Here are the various ways AI-enabled voice automation is being used by QSRs and fast-casual restaurants.DRIVETHRUCITY

Chipotle had already rolled-out Amazon Alexa reordering skill way back in 2019 for Chipotle customers who are already a part of the loyalty program. They later expanded AI-based voice ordering for phone orders as well. With the recent roll-out of dedicated drive-thru pick-up windows (aka Chipotlanes), Chipotle customers who order ahead using voice or app can drive up to the pickup window and drive out in under 12 seconds.
In 2019, McDonald’s acquired Apprente, an AI-based technology that can engage in conversations with humans to improve drive-thru order accuracy. McDonald’s piloted the technology in 2021 at 24 drive-thrus in the Chicago area and reported about an 80% success rate. The technology is being further tested and upgraded with the help of IBM before a system-wide roll-out.
Wendy’s is leveraging Google Cloud to roll out a combination of AI-enabled voice technology along with computer vision that’s designed to take orders at the drive-thrus and send the transcribed order details directly to the kitchen and POS.
Presto claims to offer AI-enabled conversational technology that can only take drive-thru orders but also upsell, recommend items with shorter preparation time, and recommend items based on past orders. The Presto voice solution has diverse applications that go beyond drive-thru. These include inventory management, phone orders, tableside ordering, and staff training.DRIVETHRUCITY

Groundwork Needed for Drive-Thru Innovation
There are some critical issues in the QSR industry that can potentially derail new drive-thru initiatives. Interface recommends restaurant brands to carefully consider some of these challenges proactively before expanding drive-thru operations.

1. Network Capacity
Designing the physical space and logistics of managing the traffic often takes center stage in drive-thru design while the network side of the solution may take a backseat. Network design and capacity to support mobile POS transactions, sophisticated IP cameras with edge computing capabilities, intelligent ODMBs, order confirmation systems, and perimeter security sensors (such as alarm systems) play a critical role in the successful implementation of cutting-edge drive-thru concepts.

2. Network Security
Personalized drive-thru experiences are enabled only when customers share personal data and convenience is possible only when diverse payment options are supported. As a result, drive-thru concepts have opened up a world of network security vulnerabilities that need to be addressed upfront.

3. Accidents and Claims
Even successful drive-thru concepts have a problem – too many drive-thru customers and spill-over vehicle queues that potentially disrupt neighboring businesses or cause ‘drive-thru rage’. Collisions, liability claims, and employee injury (especially when walking up to cars in the drive-thru lane as done by some QSRs like Chick-fil-A) are potential issues to watch for.

4. Backend Bottlenecks
Considering the success of a drive-thru implementation is contingent on the speed of service and order accuracy, getting the kitchen operations right is an absolute necessity. Integrated kitchen display systems that are connected to the POS and inventory management system can help QSRs handle the increased order volume reliably.DRIVETHRUCITY

5. Operational Complexity
According to the Franchising Economic Outlook report, the US will have about 192,000 franchise QSR establishments by the end of 2022. While the franchising model offers a proven brand and template for growth, key network and security infrastructure are managed by the franchise owners. This creates operational complexity as standards of implementation and solutions may vary across the chain which imposes barriers to innovation.








Drive Thru Intercom Kit - Drive Thru Vehicle Detection - Food Truck Drive Thru Headset System - Drive Thru Food Truck Intercom Kit - Drive thru beverage business - Coffee stand - coffee shop - coffee trailer - how to

Electronic Product Design and Development Company. Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) Prototyping & Product Design Services For Industrial & Consumer Electronics. Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) Drive Thru Electronic Equipment - drive-thru communication equipment, drive-thru systems, drive-thru timers, drive-thru intercoms, vehicle detectors, sensors. Indoor Digital Menus. XMOD, LLC Authorized Dealer. UTAH, Nationwide. Manufacturer of parking control systems, automatic gate openers sensors. Drive Thru Headset Repair. Repair Shop. Food Truck Drive Thru Intercom Systems. Drive Thru Speakers. Drive Thru communication equipment. Brands: HME, 3M, PAR, Panasonic, NEXEO HDX, G5, Sony, OMRON, TI, NXP, Microchip, NXP. DRIVETHRUCITY - XMOD TEKS.

headphone repair
drive xt
iq charger
headset repair shop near me
headset fix near me
sound system repair near me
drive in speaker
xt repairs
3m headphones
3m intercom
headset repair near me
g5 charger
ion headphones
drive thru headset systems for restaurants
restaurant earpieces
panasonic phone repair
panasonic headset
thru it all
mcdonalds headphones
eos hd
drive thru intercom kit for restaurants
hme headset
3m headset drive thru
refurbished battery
panasonic repair
3m headsets
drive through intercom
iq drive
restaurant drive thru equipment
3m headset
earbud repair shop
3m intercom system
drive thru motion sensors
hme repairs
headset ear pads
drive thru speaker
speaker posts
drive thru systems
drive thru intercom
headphones repair
drive thru system
3m g5 battery
restaurant headsets
drive thru equipment
headset parts
hd headset
used 3m xt 1 headset for sale
drive up equipment
hme metal sales
drive thru timers
iq portable charger
battery par
drive thru systems for restaurants
hme headset replacement parts
drive thru window repair
drive iq
drive through systems
3m speaker
3m headset repair
drive-thru systems
3m c1060 headset manual
hme customer service
all in one headset
battery pack belt
drive through intercom system
hme parts
battery belt
headset repair
iq headphones
refurbished headset
drive thru mic
drive thru audio
hme wireless
drive through speaker
ion wireless headphones
3m c1060
used drive thru equipment
iq battery charger
hd headsets
drive thru intercom kit
3m xt 1 headset
headset for restaurants
drive thru window parts
headset repairs near me
3m battery
hme headsets for sale
3m drive thru headset g5
3m g5 headset price
drive-thru menu board speaker
headset batteries
vehicle detectors
drive through microphone
hme 6000
drive through equipment
3m drive thru headset g5 manual
drive thru menu board speaker
hme odyssey headset
headset repair service
3m headphone
intercom system repair
headset repair shop
drive thru ordering speaker
servicing headset
xt1 battery
car detector
hme system
3m headsets for drive thru
drive-thru speaker
3m headphone replacement pads
headset inc
hme battery pack
g5 battery
xt 1
xt battery
post speaker
headset service
3m earphone
hme battery
speaker post
3m g5 headset parts
iq wireless
panasonic headsets
foam earpads
headphone repairs
3m c1060 headset
repair headsets
hme headset pads
3m g5
drive up speaker system
drive accessories
headset panasonic
hs6200 headset
headsets for restaurants
3m replacement ear pads
hme zoom timer troubleshooting
drive thru microphone
repair headset
headset charger
hme headsets how to program
3m drive thru headset g5 for sale
refurbished headsets
hme wireless iq
3m speakers
battery belts
3m wireless headsets
drive thru microphone system
drivein speaker
3m batteries
earbud repair near me
3m headsets for drive thru manual
headset system
vehicle detector
3m headphones parts
panasonic phone system repair
best drive thru system
mcdonalds drive thru timer
drive speaker
hme mb300
3m g5 headset manual
hme hs6200 manual
drive thru window repair near me
headset services
hme loop detector
drive through speaker box
3m supply
hme microphone
headset systems
bat50 battery
headset part
3m wireless intercom system
headset charging station
hme kit
drive thru accessories
panasonic phone system repair service
xt batteries
headset repairs
qsr timer
wireless base stations
battery refurbished
hme ion iq
fast food headset price
hme drive thru support
how to program 3m headsets
hme wireless iq headset registration
mcdonald's drive-thru headset
xt1 accessories
drive thru loop installation
drive through speakers
wendy's headset
3m g5 headset system
drive repairs
3m drive thru headset troubleshooting
ion microphone replacement
refurbished system
hme wireless range
3m xt-1 base station
speed thru headsets
drive thru package
dr headset
3m charger
3m drive thru
headset chargers
base station power supply
drive thru installation
drive-thru installation
intercom system for drive thru
best drive thru timer system
3m earmuff replacement pads
zoom drive-thru
drivethru headset
dt headsets
Drive Up Equipment Repairs
drive-thru accessories
quick service timer
drive-thru loop detector
headsets for fast food restaurants
drive-thru system installation
drive-thru equipment
best drive-thru system
headset phone repair
drive thru installations
drive through system
drive-thru intercom kit for restaurants
eoss speakers
inc headset
i q drive
drive-thru window parts
drive through system cost
drive-thru microphone system
par drive thru
drive-thru speaker systems
6100 headset
base station repair
restaurant drive-thru systems
how do drive-thrus detect cars
panasonic phone system repair near me
drive thru intercom speaker
drive-thru installation
headset foams
drive-thru headset for sale
drive-thru timers
drive thru equipment store
drive thru system cost
a1060 battery
restaurant drive-thru systems
drive-thru mic
par drive-thru
charger headset
3m wireless headset
headsets repair
drive-up equipment
drive-thru intercom speaker
drive-thru system for restaurants
handsfree repair shop
restaurant drive thru system
base station with
drive thru hardware
drive thru machine
headset repair services
drive-thru microphone
top drive thru systems
drive-thru system
par drivethru
drive-thru window repair near me
drive-thru machine
drive thru systems communications
remote lane drive thru equipment
drive-thru speaker and headset
hme battery box
drive thru wireless systems
how to program hme headset
drive-thru installations
what headsets are used for drive thru service
kfc headsets
headset 3m
drive-thru system installation
g5 1 6
Food service drive-thru equipment
3m all in one
drive-thru ordering speaker
3m headset ear pads
drive in speaker for sale
kfc headsets
hme ion iq headset
drive-thru window installation near me
Drive up system
drive earphones
drive in stations
drive-thru vehicle detection system
drive-thru headsets price
service headset
drive thru speaker and headset
drive-thru timer system
drive-thru microphone system
speakers post
headset repair services
wireless drive-thru intercom system
wireless equipment repair
intercom systems for restaurants
parts for drive thru headsets
drive thru parts
drive microphone
drive thru speakers
3m systems
par headsets
hme ion headset
hme batteries
hme drive-thru support
drive batteries
drive thru headset png
headset refurbished
3m par
drive-thru system for sale
hme wireless inc