COVID-19 prompted almost every restaurant to make some kind of pivot in how it sold to, and served customers. Those that had drive-thrus optimized them to get the most throughput. Those that didn’t have drive-thrus quickly set up to-go service whether it looked like drive-in / car-hop type service, or curbside to-go, or some combination. Still others pressed other off-premises channels into service by accelerating the rollout of online / mobile ordering or heavily promoting and advertising this channel to customers.
After living through months of change, it’s now clear that restaurants, and how we experience them, may never go back to what we knew before. Always a huge revenue source, drive-thrus have become even more of a coveted, and very valuable, asset. And study after study seems to indicate that even after guests return to on-premises dining, they will still want the off-premises convenience they experienced during COVID.
The restaurants that have invested in modernizing their drive-thrus are doing better than their counterparts that have not. Cutting-edge brands investing in drive-thru are engaging with guests in new ways, and supersizing profits.
Xenial conducted an extensive study of leading QSRs that have invested in drive-thru modernization projects. We summarize some of the details and findings here. And of course, you are welcome to download the full study.
Two main technologies were at the core of the improvements at brands we studied:
In addition, the digital menu board experience is powered by dynamic content and intelligent suggestive selling based on a number of data feeds and the brand’s business rules.
Our largest client has 7,500 locations; some of our smaller clients own/operate between 100 and 3,600 locations.
For the purpose of this study, we used on premises drive-thru POS transactions as the baseline. We excluded other types of orders such as mobile app, third party pickup/delivery, and online orders.
Restaurants we studied implemented Xenial Drive-thru Director.
How it works:
This drive-thru timer system displays visual representations of drive-thru traffic on screens inside the restaurant. On the same screen, a service time ranking system pits one store against another by showing their relative speed of service rankings. Healthy competition between crews is a fun way to promote teamwork and improve speed of service.
Noteworthy findings include:
Download our ROI study to discover more facts and findings.
Restaurants we studied implemented Xenial Outdoor Digital Menu Boards. These bright, vivid displays capture attention with vivid graphics and impressive video elements. A remote and central cloud content management portal makes it easy to change content and update pricing. This portal enables brand content to be designated at the corporate level while giving local control to other parts of menus and displays.
How it works
While the customer is placing their drive-thru order, part of the screen becomes an order confirmation display, showing the items in the order as they are entered into the POS. Next to the order confirmation, an image of a suggested upsell item is displayed. These items are presented dynamically based on current weather/ temperature, current backlog of drive-thru customers/speed of service time (if combined with Xenial Drive-thru Director), actual items in the order, and other intelligent suggestive selling business rules determined by the brand.
The implementation of these technologies resulted in an average 2% increase in LTO sales, a 2% jump in combo meal sales, and a 2.5% increase in overall sales.
Notable results include: