Drive Thru Safe Service and Upkeep During COVID-19

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COVID-19 has affected the lives of billions of people and their livelihood across the globe over the last eight months. While life might be returning to normal for most people, a lot has changed. The new social distancing measures that have become universally implemented have changed how many industries operate, including the food and restaurant industry.

More and more people opt for take-outs and drive thrus over dining on location, which has become a safer and more viable solution for diners. If you’re a restaurant, fast-casual, or QSR owner, you might consider implementing a drive thru option ASAP. This article will give some tips and advice for maintaining a high level of safety for drive thrus right now.

Go Mobile

These days, everyone wants to avoid unnecessary interactions and physical contact since it’s an essential part of social distancing. The last thing you want is an in-store outbreak at your business. Keeping this in mind would be a smart move to put a mobile app for ordering since it makes it possible for customers to order and pay without compromising their safety.

The secondary benefit of going mobile is that it also serves as the right marketing channel. By utilizing the data gathered, you can spot opportunities to target relevant offers to the right demographic, offer loyalty-programs, and run gamified campaigns that can boost your business’s visibility. All this can significantly streamline your marketing efforts by simplifying things.

Split Up Tasks

To increase your drive thru’s operational efficiency, you might consider splitting up the tasks of serving and payment collection between two or more people. One person can do both, but it slows down the serving speed, resulting in unhappy customers and revenue loss. On the other hand, splitting up tasks increases efficiency, resulting in higher sales volumes.

Other than operational speed, you want to split up the tasks to ensure your team’s safety. Splitting up the duties minimizes the risk of exposure, making it the safe thing to do. Make sure to provide your employees with proper hand sanitizing options, gloves, and masks as well.

Optimize the Experience

Optimizing the customer experience is crucial if you’re looking to grow your business. From the moment the customer pulls up in your parking lot till they take their order and leave, the overall experience must be streamlined and efficient. This allows customers to have a positive experience that they will want to repeat and promote via social media or word of mouth.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to install a drive thru timer at your location to collect valuable data for analysis. Using one will allow you to track order times throughout the day, allowing you to optimize your resources for the peak-and off-peak hours. A POS software or system can also help you do the same to manage your staff and workflow more efficiently.

Top-tier fast-food drive thru systems can track all the minute details of the order processing, which allows you to know your clientele better. Some diners see better results by providing faster service, while others, such as Chick-Fil-A, have benefitted from increased attention to detail at the cost of lengthier service times.

Contactless Payments

At present, customers are more worried about interacting with people at the counter than the kitchen quality control of the diner they’re buying food from. It’s a no-brainer that you can rack up a lot of brownie points with your customers by introducing contactless payment options at your drive thru. As discussed above, this increases the safety and efficiency of your service and operations.

Most customers are accustomed to paying through their phones these days, so using a mobile app with payment API integration is the most obvious choice for contactless payments. Many consumers still prefer to pay with credit or debit cards, so you should also include the option of having a contactless payment extender at the counter as well.

Always ensure you santize payment devices at the end of each day. All POS hardware used in the payment process (i.e., the POS terminal, drive thru, headsets, fingerprint reader, card reader, etc.) should be wiped using alcohol-based disinfectants.

Adapt Your Business to the “New Normal”

From what experts say about COVID-19, it will be here to stay for quite a while. This means that the drive thru industry will become more critical as the safest and quickest dining-option in the future. If you’re willing to adapt your business to this new normal, you’ll find that dine-in restrictions won’t impact your business as badly as many diners and restaurants that are struggling to stay afloat.

Infographic created by Clover Network, a POS system provider.

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