Will Drive Thru Self-Service Be the New Norm?
Self-service has grown steadily all year. COVID-19 caused a complete overhaul of how the restaurant industry operated. Instead of relying on face-to-face interactions to upsell and provide a better experience for guests, self-service became the norm. Now, QSRs take it one step further with automated drive thrus.
What Are Automated Drive Thrus?
As part of a push toward more self-service in general, McDonald’s started testing out this new feature in 10 Chicago locations. While they’ve also expressed interest in automating other parts of the restaurant, like the kitchen, beginning with customer touchpoints will most effectively get you back on your feet.
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How does it work? Customers simply order like they would any drive thru. The experience doesn’t change much for them. AI technology then translates it to the back of house team so they can get started right away. Thus far, these drive thrus are 85% accurate and handle most of the customers that come by. Meanwhile, 20% still see employees who will stick around to guarantee everyone’s experience runs seamlessly.
Although this technology will be in high demand, it may take awhile to reach McDonald’s nationwide. Factoring in different menus, dialects and promotions, all of which vary by store, takes time.
The Rise of AI
Automated drive thrus are part of the general rise in artificial intelligence. Customer satisfaction matters more than anything right now, and guests want a quick and seamless dining experience that’s also customized to their exact satisfaction. AI can help give them all this, while reducing labor expenses. That helps with today’s labor shortage, too. Moving through the post-pandemic recovery period, invest in the latest and greatest technology to save more and make more in the long run.
Focusing on what customers need will generate more revenue anyway. Take care of guests and they’re more likely to return. Loyal customers tend to spend more on average than newcomers, anyway. Voice automation has also appeared in other QSR chains, like Sonic. In others, they’re building ways to order in the car on the way to the drive thru itself. It’s all about technology that can streamline and improve the customer experience.
Drive Thrus of the Future
As the restaurant industry adapts to changing trends and customer expectations, smart technology creates frictionless change. Create a better dining experience, streamline workers’ jobs, and overall give better restaurant service with smart tech.
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