Drive-thru restaurants have become a larger part of society, with their popularity soaring past expected numbers since the pandemic. Some large chains like McDonald's are seeing 90% of their sales shifting to the drive-thru category. So how can you take advantage of this trend? Here our experts will outline how to create a highly functional drive-thru system.
Each drive-thru is only as good as your staff's ability to turn orders quickly and efficiently. To manage this, set up your kitchen area with everything your team needs to put orders together.
First, invest in a good staging area. An area where orders can be put together is essential for an efficient system in the back-of-house. Staging areas should include bags, utensils, napkins, and all necessary sauces and add-ons.
The benefit of having a specific area for packing orders is a decrease in order mistakes and greater efficiency in order creation. This can help you better delight your customers by ensuring that orders are packed properly.
For smaller businesses without the money to install a full drive-through, get creative. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen many businesses using what they can to set up a drive-thru experience. From tents to cones, there are ways to make a cost-effective drive-up experience without costing a fortune.
For a more straightforward way to look at drive-thru efficiency, just think SOUP:
Store all necessary items at point-of-use: This means when creating your back-of-house area, make sure that everything your staff might need is within an arm's reach.
Optimize your available footprint: Make the most of the space you have by optimizing it to the fullest extent. This can be done with proper planning and mapping in your back-of-house operations. By really taking the time to work through your floorplan and investing the right tools for the job, you can create a really excellent drive-thru system.
Utilize vertical space: Many facilities miss out on a massive amount of usable organization space by not taking advantage of their vertical space many restaurants overlook.This can be done with tools like Smartwall and Smartlever
These tools take advantage of wall space that usually would be empty over work areas like sinks and prep tables.
Purge wasted steps: When setting up your kitchen, make sure that there is a transparent assembly-line style system to push orders. By ensuring that each station's roles are clearly defined, you can promptly ensure that orders are getting out to customers.
By following these steps, you can ensure that the back-of-house is prepared to handle a drive-thru style operation.
For further efficiency, invest in solutions that can be adjusted over time. The needs of your facility are likely to change, adapt, and expand. This is why it is imperative when choosing a solution to find one that is adjustable and able to be used for multiple purposes.
Staging areas have the ability when designed to be used as a prep station or additional work area if your operation moves back to a dine-in experience.