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Consider These 4 Things Before Starting a Drive-Thru - Sophia Belnap - Blog

Consider These 4 Things Before Starting a Drive-Thru

The idea of drive-thrus frequently comes up with restaurant owners looking for ways to freshen up their business model, whether they are renovating an existing property or establishing a new one. Although the drive-thru has been a part of American life since the 1940s, having one may help you get through the current economic climate, including shifting customer behavior and regulatory restrictions.

The first restaurant drive-thru opened in Baldwin Park, California, in 1948. This was a 100-square-foot burger business that evolved to become one of the most well-known chains, In-N-Out Burger. McDonald's did not decide to establish its first drive-thru until 22 years after In-N-Out's breakthrough. Furthermore, since their beginnings, drive-thru restaurants have proved to boost their total profitability by boosting their order volume.

Here are a few tips to consider when thinking about your new drive-thru business. 

  1. Do a Study

Before deciding on what brand new restaurant equipment to buy, you need to make sure you're on the right track with your business model. If you want to add a drive-thru to an existing location or create a new drive-thru from the ground up, you'll need to hire an expert to undertake a feasibility study.

This analysis should illustrate traffic patterns and the impact your new drive-thru will have on the surrounding traffic count and flow. Most cities in the United States are hesitant to authorize a drive-thru without first conducting a study to see how it will affect traffic flow and count.

Many communities require additional fire department input and permission for a drive-thru; thus, permitting is an important part of the process of developing your next drive-thru. The additional windows, traffic flow, and cars idling near the building all contribute to this. There are even rules in some locations that require specified signage and curb paint colors.

  1. Decide on the Layout

You must plan out the queue structure once you have received initial approval to continue with your new drive-thru. You'll want an orderly drive-thru layout much like you'd want an orderly kitchen in a restaurant. Assuring that cars have enough room to turn and that lanes are correctly marked so that the area where they merge flows smoothly for customers. Because drive-thrus account for up to 70% of the average quick-serve restaurant's revenues, it's critical to get the entire layout and design right.

  1. Now Comes the Equipment

Once you've opted to install or adopt a drive-thru window, double-check that you have all of the necessary equipment.

Installing an extra-wide drive-thru window increases efficiency because two personnel may both lean out simultaneously, one accepting payment and the other delivering the customer's order.

For easy installation and maintenance, choose a high-quality speaker system or, better yet, a digital menu display with a built-in speaker.

Digital menu boards allow you to show a clear and visible menu to your customers, and you can adjust the prices whenever you need to.

It is critical to strategically place bright lighting throughout the drive-thru path and throughout the parking lot to remove dark areas for the safety, security, and peace of mind of customers.

Security cameras strategically installed across the premises can let personnel see who they are accepting an order from, providing peace of mind to those working behind the takeout window.

  1. Consider Employee Placement

More and more drive-thru restaurants are utilizing the practice of placing personnel outdoors in the drive-thru. You can now supply tablets to the staff so they can accept orders outside using today's technology. This approach is known as "face-to-face ordering," and it's why, at peak hours, the majority of restaurants that do this have over 100 cars in the drive-thru line.

Finally, if mobile order processing and payments can be implemented, it will drastically minimize drive-thru line wait times. It's also a good idea to have a separate drive-thru queue and kiosk for picking up mobile orders.

Opening a drive-thru can be an exciting and profitable venture. Make sure to carefully plan every stage of your businesses' development for the best success. 

Publish Date: June 22, 2021 9:14 PM

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