Imagine the typical drive-thru restaurant layout - a box on a busy street, perhaps on a corner, an entry and exit driveway, a marked out drive-thru lane wrapping around the building, with the menu board towards the back and the payment and pick-up windows on the side. Next, imagine the typical drive-thru restaurant type - a QSR or a coffee shop. Now imagine that these descriptions do not fit your business. Drive-thrus are popping up in more and more places, in what a few years ago would have been considered very unconventional. Here are some examples:
As consumer behaviors adjust and many businesses find success with their drive-thru lanes, is your brand ready to add a drive-thru to your locations(s)? There are numerous solutions and accessories to consider, but getting started with drive-thru essentials is also an option!
The top three components of a drive-thru are explained in the 'Bare-Bones Drive-Thru' video, which can be found below with Matthew Johnson, Inside Sales Manager: North America West.
The Howard Company did a social media survey that asked the question, 'Before entering a restaurant's drive-thru, how often do you know your exact order?' The answer options were 'Always, Sometimes, Rarely, and Never.' With 51 total participants, 37 individuals (73%) voted 'Sometimes, Rarely, or Never,' and only 14 individuals (27%) voted 'Always.'
In our small sample, nearly three-quarters of drive-thru customers say they do not know their exact order beforehand. At the same time, they choose the drive-thru for convenience and speed of service. This indecision hints at how important it is to present items before customers reach the main menu board—giving guests time to make a decision, upselling, and cross-selling with special, limited-time offers. The Howard Company designs presell boards for these scenarios.
Jim Reeder talks more in-depth about the top three reasons businesses should include a presell board in their drive-thru(s) in the video titled 'The Benefits of Adding Presell Boards.'
Imagine having the opportunity to upsell or cross-sell to each customer that enters the drive-thru. By showcasing limited-time offers, high-margin menu items, personalized recommendations, and other attention-drawing details on drive-thru digital menu boards, restaurants can enhance guest experience and increase sales. Managers don't have to worry about reminding drive-thru order takers to upsell consistently, and operators will be excited about the additional revenue.
In 'Increasing Drive-Thru Sales with Digital Menu Boards,' Matthew Johnson, Inside Sales Manager: North America West, highlights specific digital menu board strategies that have lead to positive outcomes. View the video here:
The Howard Company has many innovative solutions and a customer favorite is our outdoor digital menu board. It is named the ‘Flex,’ as it allows businesses to be flexible with their content in the drive-thru. While onsite, printed graphics and digital menu boards can easily be switched out in a short amount of time. The best part is that the drive-thru can remain open during installation!
In January of 2021, a few team members from The Howard Company (Grant Gustke: Regional Vice President, Jean Jones: Marketing Director, and Rob Vaccarella: Installation and Product Support Specialist) visited The Human Bean in Woodland Park, Colorado, to make this change on one of our three-door Drive-Thru Flex Digital Menu Boards. Watch the time-lapse of the transition below: