4 min read
We love our drive-thrus
Drive-thru restaurants have been around for a long time – especially in car-loving nations like Australia and the US, where you’ve been able to buy a burger from your vehicle since the 1970s, with the UK joining the trend just a little later, in the mid-1980s.
Drive-thrus are an essential part of the mix for successful QSRs, accounting for up to 60-70% of overall revenue. During the pandemic this rose to 90% as drive-thrus became a lifeline for consumers and QSRs alike. Our love-affair with the drive-thru is here to stay, with 64% of consumers saying that they don’t plan to return to eating in restaurants and 37% preferring drive-thru for restaurant ordering.
The growing drive-thru market
The fast food market is forecast to increase by 4.6% per annum until 2028, with drive-thru continuing to play a major part - driven by ever busier lives, and by a wider range of brands jumping on the drive-thru bandwagon, expanding the options from the traditional burgers, nuggets and chips to bakery items, noodles, pizza and Indian food.
Drive-thrus also offer a highly effective business model for QSRs - they can be operated at a lower cost than eat-in – no table service, no clearing away and no dishes means fewer staff are needed - and increasingly drive-thru sites are also doubling up as delivery hubs.
The modern drive-thru – driven by consumer demands
But today’s drive-thrus are not the same as the ones from decades past - consumers of fast food are more demanding than ever, and expect ultra-convenience, lightening speed, personalised service and a great customer experience.
With increasing numbers of drive-thrus, competition is high, and if your restaurant doesn’t make the grade, you can bet there’s one just down the road waiting to serve your dissatisfied customers.
Innovations at the drive-thru
Smart QSRs are turning to technology to help deliver a winning drive-thru experience for 2023 and beyond. Here’s our summary of the top six technologies that are transforming the world of the drive-thru.
Where you have dual lanes, number plate recognition can also help to identify the right order for the right vehicle, enhancing customer satisfaction by eliminating any order confusion and errors.
With 81% of people who use drive-thrus saying they’d be happy to have their order taken by an AI bot, this tech is has the potential to delight customers, with the added benefit of never getting tired, stressed under pressure or needing comfort breaks.
Drive-thrus are an integral and continuously growing aspect of the QSR market, and technology is enhancing them further, ensuring the efficiency, speed and personalisation that today’s drive-thru customers demand.
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