It is a thin tight rope that QSR’s (quick serve restaurants) must balance.
Customers are demanding constant menu innovations they want more
snack items and healthy options. In addition, customers expect to be
served quickly and will not tolerate excessive wait times.
Wendy’s and Taco Bell are certainly listening to and responding to their
customers: last October, QSR published an article that referenced the
quickest drive-thru times, with Wendy’s as the top performer with 145.5
seconds and Taco Bell in second place with a 146.7-second drive thru time.
This sets the standard for what customers expect.
Yes, Technology plays a big role in speeding up your drive-thru times, but do not
discount the importance of your POP and menu boards.Humans are visual creatures
we learn more through our sense of sight than we do with any of the other four senses.
Determine how you want your customers to behave and use your POP and menu
boards to dictate their behavior. Below are strategies to create an easy experience
for your customer and improve your drive-thru speeds.
K.I.S.S. Dumb Down Your Menu Boards
This is an extreme example of K.I.S.S., as In & Out® has a unique business model,
offering only three types of burgers. This demonstrates the concept of KISS and how
important it is to make the ordering process easy for your customer. Stretch the creativity
of your marketing department to see how they can best simplify your menu boards.
Feature Combo’s & LTO’s (limited time offers)
Featuring mouth-watering images and feature them as combo meals, is a great way to
help your customers make quick decisions. While the Taco Bell® example on the left
offers several options for customers to choose from, it is still easy to read and uncluttered.
The example on the right, from El Pollo Loco®, is an excellent example of driving customer
behavior, with straightforward marketing that eliminates customers from having to think
about what they want or how much it will cost.
Customers demand lots of options, which makes streamlining your menu challenging.
Starbucks® does a great job eliminating confusion by creating groupings on their menu
boards. Starbucks® also incorporates images so customers can use visual recognition
to speed up their ordering time. Are your menus sectioned into groupings? Are you using
images to make the ordering process easier for your customers?
Change Is Not Always Good
We are creatures of habit and love familiarity. People like knowing that when they order
a Big Mac® at McDonalds® they know what it will taste like. When you go to your favorite
fast food restaurants, do you order the same thing most of the time? Most people are willing
to try new items, but will revert to what they are familiar with. Make sure that your POP and
menu boards make your guests feel safe and familiar--this, too, will speed up your times.
Thought Provoking Challenge
What is one thing you learned from this article that you will use to challenge your creative
department to decrease your drive-thru times?
Sources: http://www.tedmontgomery.com/the_eye/index.html http://www.qsrmagazine.com/reports/qsr-drive-thru-performance-study