Frequently Asked Questions

Since 1950, The Howard Company has been partnering with businesses all across North America, developing indoor and outdoor solutions for their brand(s). As you work to create high-quality, memorable experiences for your guests, let us help you get ahead with answers to commonly asked questions that are categorized below. If you have any follow-up questions, please let us know!

Drive-Thru & Curbside Pickup Questions

How much does a drive-thru cost?
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How do I start planning for a drive-thru?
  • Organize Finances: Take the time before installation to organize finances and set a budget. For businesses that may have a small budget, there are still many opportunities to consider when it comes to the drive-thru and working towards the "dream" drive-thru down the road.
  • Book a General Contractor: General contractors have a busy schedule, so it is important to get on their radar as soon as possible.
  • Prepare Permitting: Do not get caught in a delay and request your permits early on in the planning process.

Adding a new drive-thru is an exciting installment, for both your team members and your customers! To ensure everything turns out the way you were hoping for and more, begin the planning process early. The drive-thru experts at The Howard Company are more than happy to assist you along the way. We are here for you and your customers!

How do I know if I need new drive-thru equipment?
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As my brand grows, how do I properly scale my drive-thru?
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What are the pros and cons of aluminum and steel drive-thru cabinets?

Extruded Aluminum Cabinets:


Aluminum extruded cabinets are rust-resistant without the use of a primer or E-coating. In most applications, the strength of extruded aluminum is stronger than fabricated sheet metal. Extrusions have a more consistent geometry compared to fabricated sheet metal. Specific aesthetics and mechanical features are part of the extrusion and don’t require a secondary operation. These details can be intricate compared to fabricated sheet metal. Aluminum offers more strength per pound. Aluminum will strengthen in colder temperatures.


It is more costly, wasteful, and time-consuming to make a production change to an extruded part. A new tool will need to be created. The parts already extruded would be scrapped. The process starts over. There is more investment in tooling and a minimum amount of extrusion purchased compared to fabricated sheet metal. Structural aluminum is more expensive than steel and will require thicker material to make up for the strength difference.

Fabricated Aluminum Sheet Cabinets:


Aluminum sheets are rust-resistant without the use of primer or E-coating. Fabricated aluminum cabinets can be made in smaller quantities and are flexible with production changes. Aluminum is more flexible and elastic than steel. Because it is flexible, it is easier to design aesthetic details or intricate features. Not as intricate as extruded aluminum. Aluminum will strengthen in colder temperatures.


This is the weakest of the cabinet construction methods. Will require steel tubing and steel plates added for the structure to pass wind load speed requirements. There is less geometric consistency with fabricated parts and a higher reject rate.

Fabricated Steel Sheet Cabinets:


Fabricated steel cabinets can be made in smaller quantities and are flexible with production changes. Steel sheet metal fabrication is stronger than aluminum sheet metal. Steel sheet metal can provide enough structure to pass the highest wind load ratings in the United States without adding additional materials and cost. Typically, steel is pound-for-pound less expensive than aluminum.


Steel fabricated parts require the use of primer or E-coating to help prevent rust before painting. Steel will rust over time and compromise the structure if not taken care of. Touching up any exposed metal with paint is the only way to extend the life of steel. Weight density of steel is 2.5 times greater than aluminum. Much heavier for transportation compared to aluminum.


Digital Displays Questions

How do you calculate the potential revenue growth from adding digital menu boards?
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What are the advantages of switching from static/print panels to digital displays?

When it comes to making the transition from static menu boards to digital menu boards, there are certain advantages that stand out.

  • Cost-effectiveness: As your business evolves over time and you choose to display new offerings, it is much easier, faster, and less expensive to change your menu digitally.
  • Flexibility: With the ability to change content and layouts at any given time, your business has the flexibility to shift customer attention to the most profitable items, such as specials and favorites.
  • Customer Engagement: Digital displays allow businesses to keep customers engaged while waiting to be helped. Aside from promoting products and services, digital screens are a great medium to advertise limited-time offers (LTO's), volunteer work, community-wide events, and manage daypart menu items.
Why are commercial-grade displays better for businesses than residential tv's?
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Menu Board Questions

What is a hybrid menu board?
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How do you add great content onto a digital menu board?
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Digital & Design Services Questions

How can I enhance my brand's menu board design?
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Which professional services bundle does my brand need?

Which bundle is right for your brand:

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Installation Services Questions

What is the timeline for a drive-thru installation?

Request The Howard Company's Drive-Thru Installation Timeline here.

What are the conduit requirements for a Drive-Thru Flex Menu Board?
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Additional Questions & Answers

Who should I reach out to at The Howard Company?
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I am searching for a particular solution, but I cannot find it on the website. What do I do?
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Learn More About All Howard Company Solutions

We have a solution for you

The Howard Company is your best resource as you seek out products for your restaurant or retail store. We work with virtually all materials and we are as comfortable indoors as outdoors. Our focus on quality and service sets us apart in our various marketplaces. We want to be your first call when you need advice on your menu systems, Point of Purchase needs, or in-store marketing and merchandising. Our high quality solutions help you focus on building your brand, serving your guests, and selling more product!

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