3 Factors Behind Drive-Thru Congestion

If you’re seeing cars from your drive-thru line spill into the parking lot, you’re probably getting excited about an increase in your customer base. But customers in a long drive-thru line are going to start getting frustrated, so now that you’ve gathered some more customers, let’s talk about what’s causing the line congestion and how to fix it.

Drive-Thru Congestion1. Not enough operators:  If you’re used to a smaller operation but are getting more business than usual, you might end up needing to assign more employees to the drive-thru. You may want to reassign people from other functions or hire new people, depending on how your indoor business is doing.  This will probably also mean that you need to purchase additional headsets, unless you have a lot of extras lying around.

2. Long preparation times:  If you find that customers end up waiting for a long time at the window for their food, the problem might be preparation times.  This can be fixed in a few ways. Increased employee training and the use of timers can be helpful, but one of the best ways to speed up preparation times is to remove items with inherently long prep times from the drive-thru menu.  Of course you would still offer the items when they’re asked for but if you stop encouraging those long orders, you can go a long way toward speeding up the drive-thru.

3. Slow ordering:  Another factor to consider is that your customers might be slowing things down at the point of ordering.  Though sometimes customers are just plain slow, if this is a consistent problem, the ordering process might be too confusing.  You might want to change the layout of your menu boards, or add easy-order combos to allow people to make faster choices.

More customers coming through the drive-thru is never a bad thing! But make sure to take steps to keep up, or you won’t be able to maintain that growth.

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