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Drive-Thru Do’s and Don’ts

Make the most of such systems by paying attention to logistical and safety concerns





State-of-the-art drive-thrus can boost sales and patron satisfaction at quick-service restaurants. But such systems must be carefully integrated with the site and building, or the result can be a big traffic snarl, hospitality architects from HFA Architecture + Engineering said in a recent webinar.

Ways quick-serve restaurants can ramp up their drive-thrus include upstream ordering, automatic doors, larger canopies and dedicated lanes for mobile orders, HFA said.

“With these solutions implemented correctly, I’ve seen restaurants go from 180 to 200 cars in peak hours,” said HFA’s Steven Baker during a recent webinar titled “Elevating Drive-Thru Design: Transforming Food Service Experiences.”  He and his team have remodeled more than 100 QSR locations to better accommodate fast-emerging consumer and technology trends, working on behalf of multiple brands.

Baker was joined in presenting during the seminar by Nicole Poole, VP in charge of HFA’s Hospitality + Entertainment group and head of its patron-centric Matchstick initiative for retail and hospitality clients.

Poole and Baker pointed to the importance of civil engineering, store design and site layout in today’s more complex drive-thru services. Maximizing the safety and efficiency of upstream ordering, for example, is no simple affair, said Baker, whose team works with a fast-growing QSR chain known for its military-like precision with this approach.

“It is more than just throwing a team member out there with an iPad,” he said. “We need to give space for them to operate safely alongside cars, so defining that team member area is essential.”


Click here for more from HFA’s recap on the webinar, and here to watch it.


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