Fast Food Drive-Thru Ordering

I’m hardly a Seth Godin. If you want ideas for the small little improvements in business, Seth is definitely who you need to read. In fact, I’d argue that if you aren’t reading Seth, and you run a business, you are seriously impairing your ability to get that little percentage of an improvement which could reap huge dividends in the long run.

However, I don’t think Seth has talked about this yet, so I’ll give it a shot.

Two parts here: The first part below is how you can make your life easier when ordering from a fast food drive-through. The second part is how fast food resturants can improve their drive-through process.

Ordering from a Drive-Through

Keep in mind this truth. Most of the time, the person running the drive-thru is in their first job. This means many things: They aren’t adept at handling multiple things at once. They have low understanding and/or care regarding customer service. And in the case of young people, they often don’t have any real sense of obligation to their own employer.

What does that mean? Expect little. And don’t be demanding. The drive-through is not the place to be demanding. Some might argue that you don’t act demanding to anyone who handles food you are about to eat - ever. I would agree. But, you certainly don’t choose the drive-through as the time to be choosy, picky, or snooty.

So here are my tips for a smooth, easy, drive-through order:

1. Know what you want before you pull into the lane. If you aren’t familiar with the menu, go inside.

2. Speak naturally. You don’t need to yell into the microphone. You don’t need to speak as if you are talking to a foreigner who only knows eight words of English.

3. Order things one at a time. For instance, say “Combo #3″. Then, wait. They will ask you what you want to drink. When they are ready. They are handling other transactions. And they don’t often think as fast as you might think. Rattling off four things in a row is a sure way to cause confusion early on.

4. If they give you a total that you don’t feel is correct, don’t argue it at the microphone. Question it at the window - or if there is a line behind you, get your receipt, park, and go inside to have your accounting meeting.

5. Lastly, don’t audit your order. If you actually expect to get what you ordered at a fast-food restaurant, you will be disappointed at least ten percent of the time. Think about this. If you didn’t get the right hamburger or got a small fry when you wanted a large fry, you will backup the entire line while you idle waiting for the teenage crew to scramble and fix it. Either eat it as is (and don’t be so picky), or park, go in, and get it squared away inside.

Ideas for Drive-Thru’s

1. Create a RFID device (similar to the Mobile Speedpass) that frequent visitors can program (in-store or online) with their favorite meal options. They can just wave the card in front of the microphone to automatically fill-in the screen with their most common meal. A more advanced system might have three buttons on the card for their most frequent meal options which they can push before waving.

2. Always have a nice, wide awning or cover over the windows where food or money is exchanged. Here in Brevard, less than a third of the drive-thru’s have such covers - and it rains here a lot. Where do these restaurant owners think drivers go when it is raining? Or are they thinking about it at all?

3. Lastly, and I’m not terribly sure how this would work, but there should be limits on ordering at the drive-through. Either a dollar limit or perhaps an item quantity limit. A van full of eight people should not be able to clog the drive-through for 15 minutes. A lady should not be able to order her entire family’s dinner at the drive-through. These orders alone, considering what I’ve said above, take more than five minutes each. Then the order takes ten minutes or sometimes more if the restaurant is short-staffed. I would think a $15 maximum would be sufficient and still allow 95% of most customers to utilize the drive-through.

Popularity: 1% [?]

Why not leave a comment below and continue the conversation, or subscribe to my feed and get articles like this delivered automatically to your feed reader. If you don't have a feed reader, I recommend using Google Reader to start. It's free and easy. Otherwise, you can always have these articles delivered to your email inbox every day. Click here to sign up.

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>