Coke Solutions
Trends & Insights

What Matters Most in the Drive-Thru

Consumers expect more than speed and food quality

Between 50–75 percent of sales in a Quick Service outlet come from the drive-thru window. Customers today expect more than just speed and quality of food from their drive-thru experience. Are you delivering what really matters the most to your drive-thru guests?

For more than two years, The Coca-Cola Foodservice team has executed eight custom research studies to understand all aspects of the drive-thru and identify areas of opportunity and growth.

From these studies, we found that drive-thru is more than the fastest speed and highest quality of food. Yes, speed and quality are important; but there are other things that are just as important to guests.

The drive-thru can be a very stressful experience for guests. Our studies found that there are 12 points of interruption for guest at the drive-thru. That means there are 12 places where guests are evaluating and critiquing their experience. That also means 12 places to make or break an experience. These points start as soon as the customer sees the drive-thru until they place their hand in the bag to make sure their order was correct.

Three elements that play into the 12 are: crew, menu board and beverages.

  1. Crew — Clear communication, crew appearance and friendliness — from clear communication at the speaker box, to a clean appearance and smile, it all matters. Happy people make for happy food.

  2. Menu Board — A clearly depicted menu of options helps guests to confirm what they want and exposes them to new offerings. Show the full meal, use good contrast and color blocking and highlight limited time offers.

  3. Beverages — Bring it all together: Include beverages in the menu board depicting the full meal, show full variety of beverages and utilize crew to remind guests of the beverage either as a combo or as a complement to the meal.
Published: February 21, 2013