With more and more diners opting for drive thru service, quick-service restaurants are forced to up their game. Higher traffic means longer delays if the turnaround time is not improved. Delays result in queues, and queues of hungry customers soon become queues of angry customers. Those who don’t voice their rage express it with their feet, or cars by driving them off to another joint.
There are several ways you can avoid this scenario. One of them is installing a fast food drive thru timer. This tool is not merely a good idea; it has been proven to produce actual results—QSRs with timers serve customers half a minute faster than those without the timer.
How Do Drive Thru Timers Work?
Drive thru timers are systems that monitor the time spent serving visitors to a drive thru restaurant to gauge service efficiency. The system consists of a control unit with a dashboard, or graphical display, and a set of sensors that relay information to a processor.
When a vehicle enters the driveway, a sensor on the road captures the movement and signals it to the processor, capturing a timestamp for the event and relays it to the control unit. This process is repeated when the vehicle exits. In this way, the time spent processing the driver’s order is accurately captured.
In recent years, they have been refined to work with modern technology. Today you can get a timer with unobtrusive sensors that relay information wirelessly to a graphical display.
How to Install and Implement Timers
Your technology provider will supply you with a package that includes several sensors. Embed these at different points on your drive through where they can capture the entry and exit of a vehicle. These are connected to a processing unit, either with cables or wirelessly. The processing unit will, in turn, be linked to the control unit.
The control unit will have a digital dashboard that you can customize depending on the information you want to see. In addition to serving an individual customer, you can get an average of the time it took to serve customers on a particular day. Depending on which vendor supplies it, you can even get real-time comparisons with your competitors’ service times.
Some drive thru timers come with the option for remote displays, allowing staff in different parts of your restaurant to see, for instance, the time they took to service an order.
Perfecting Employee Schedules
With a drive thru timer, you will be able to manage your employees’ schedules better to get the most out of your labor. The stats generated by the timer can be fed into reports that show the times of the day, the week, or the month when you get the most traffic. These reports are put in graphs or charts for you to be able to make decisions more quickly. You can then use the information to deploy your team to prevent overstaffing or understaffing optimally.
Your timer will not only show you if your turnaround time is on the higher side, but it will also help you pinpoint the problem areas that cause this. Sensors placed in the kitchen and in the headsets of attendants will help reveal which part of the order processing was most time-consuming.
When your drive thru employees know they’re being timed, they will put their best foot forward to improve efficiency. At the back of their minds, they will know their performance is being gauged using an unbiased metric.
Creating Friendly Competition
This metric can be used to compare them against their colleagues to create some friendly competition. It can also be used to compare their efficiency to that of the staff of your competitors. You won’t need to do much to motivate those lagging in improving. To stir the pot, you can introduce prizes for the most efficient staff. If your restaurant has multiple locations, there will be added motivation for your teams to prove themselves the overall best.
More Sales and Happier Customers
After you have identified service bottlenecks and improved your efficiency, it won’t be long before you see the impact on your drive thru sales. If your customers know that they can get a quality meal in a heartbeat, they will come again and spread the word. You may soon have to plan for expansion.
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