How Can The Fast Food Drive-Thru Be Improved?

From busted speakers to hard-to-read menus, the fast-food drive-thru lane has long been a staple of both comedy and consumer complaints. But now in the age of mobile payments and LED signage, some eateries are trying to improve that image.

The folks at QSR Magazine put together a list of 100 ways restaurants can improve their drive-thru experience.

Among the highlights:
10. Place the order post as close to the customers as possible to enhance the ease of two-way communication.

14. As much as the drive thru is about speed, allow guests time to review the menu should they need that opportunity. Be patient and say, “Please order when ready.”

20. Clean the windshields of waiting cars. No one does this, which is precisely why you should.

44. Install a trashcan with an extended chute next to the lane, a simple product customers universally value.

66. Let the kitchen eavesdrop on orders. If the kitchen staff can hear orders as well, both order accuracy and speed rise.

75. Grant customers the ability to place an order ahead of time, by phone or online, and pick it up in the drive-thru lane.

88. Customers are on to your attempts to keep drive-thru times down. If their order takes longer than expected, send them to designated drive-thru parking spots and offer a free beverage instead of having them simply pull forward and wait.

94. Institute a special drive-thru value meal complete with drive-thru-friendly items easy to eat while driving.

A number of the suggestions on the list are geared toward restaurant owners and managers, and while most of them are consumer-friendly, we’re sure that y’all have many, many more ideas on what can be done to improve the customer’s experience at the drive-thru. So share away in the comments!

100 Ways to Improve Your Drive Thru [QSR Magazine]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.