New Drive-thru Too Much? Try This!

There are typically four scenarios when the idea of a new drive-thru comes up; 1- as a part of a new build, 2- adding to an existing location that has never had one in the past, 3- adding to a location that previously had a drive-thru and finally, 4- the replacement of a unit that is already in place.  For the purpose of this entry, we’re going to focus on #4.  

TryThisI tell everyone I speak with that from a purely product perspective you can expect a round-about $10K investment.  This would be for a brand new 2 headset communication system (HME, 3M, Panasonic), a 3 panel drive-thru and a speaker post.  Also keep in mind that there is the potential for tax, the need for install, and possibility of concrete work that would have to be done on top of that.

If you look at that number and think “there is just no way” there are alternative steps you can take to give your current drive-thru menu board a new look.  It is important to note that once you get past 2-3 of these steps you’d be better of purchasing a new system all together.

Re-Paint your drive-thru- This is pretty self explanatory.  Over the years your drive-thru is destined to pick up some nicks and scratches.  There are also instances where the paint can begin to peel.  Sanding it down and re-painting the unit is a sure way to make an obvious upgrade in the looks department.

Graphic make-over- A lot of the older drive-thrus have track systems where if you wanted to swap out the faded strips and graphics for new it would become nonsensical unless the original manufacturer is still making the strips and graphics to the same specs.  Even at that rate, do the (approx) math, 30 $10 strips per cabinet at 3 cabinets (for example), you’re at $900.  Add a few images and you’re easily over a grand.  What I would suggest is yanking out the tracks (if able) and take a measurement of your physical graphic size, which would include the track, carrier system or frame it goes in to, and the visible graphic area so you’d know what to design to.  For around $150 per graphic, you could get something designed and printed to replace all the old strips and digits.

New plexi-glass- This a common issue when looking at drive-thrus that were done by sign companies.  The thought that is put into the plexi is minimal at best.  When an insufficient piece is used the results range from scratching, yellowing, glare and susceptibility to breakage.  If you’re going to replace yours we’d suggest using an MR-10 resistant cover door.

Add a wing or topper- Perhaps it isn’t so much that your drive-thru looks poor as it is that your menu has evolved over time and now you have run out of real-estate.  By adding a wing or two, and/or a topper you’ll instantaneously have more access to place extra menu items or LTO’s,  By doing so, you not only add space but will certainly snag the attention of your loyal customers.  By having additional appendages on your drive-thru it inherently communicates that there is something new on the menu.

Replace your bulbs- If you have an older drive-thru chances are good that it is using fluorescent bulbs.  Over time they tend to dim at different stages causing hot spots in some areas and shady in others.  This does not look good at all.  By replacing the bulbs you’ll obviously enhance the overall look and make it easier for your customers to read what is on your menu.

Again, the sum of all or a few of these parts would come close to if not exceed the purchase price of a new drive-thru.  It is also noteworthy that you should work with a company that has some expertise in this area so that you can have the piece of mind that you’d be receiving tried and tested products.

Are there other measures you can take to give your existing drive-thru a face lift?  What are we missing?  Let us know by leaving a comment below, emailing us, or giving us a buzz. | 888-235-2579