Once upon a time, a strategic location combined with great food was the recipe for success in the restaurant business. But when the pandemic hit, the restaurant industry was one of the most affected sectors.

Restaurants and fast-food chains had to adopt major changes to survive the crisis. One significant change is the increased focus on their thrive-thru service. In fact, statistics show that drive-thrus generate as much as 90% of a restaurant’s revenue since 2020.

That said, even if you’re welcoming dine-in customers now, you might want to strengthen your drive-thru service. Here are some tips to maximize the efficiency of your drive-thru services and ultimately improve your post-pandemic drive-thru sales.

1. Invest In Good Speaker Systems

There’s nothing more frustrating than pulling up to a drive-thru and having a hard time ordering. According to rssts.com, an expert in drive-thru technologies, poor quality speaker systems with noise distractions can be frustrating for your staff because they won’t be able to take orders accurately.

This can result in poor customer experience and dismal service speed if orders need to be corrected at the takeout window. Not only that, but the long line may turn away other customers.

Therefore, you might want to update some of your systems and hardware to the latest technology to improve your speed of service and help increase sales.

2. Create An Effective Menu Design

In terms of drive-thru menus, less is more. The time it takes to order will depend on the balance of your menu items. Thus, the importance of menu design and how it’s presented to the customers cannot be overstated.

You can improve your order times with the use of digital signage. This technology allows you to incorporate clean and fresh menu designs that emphasize your restaurant’s top favorites with video and motion graphics instead of static signage. Furthermore, you can target specific customers at certain times using innovative menu selection and layout.

What captures your customers’ attention when looking at your menu board and their emotional responses to what they see have an impact on the dwell time at your menu. By making incremental adjustments to the menu design, you can streamline your customers’ decision-making.

3. Add More Signages

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If budget permits, consider investing in more signages instead of having just one near your order windows. Adding more signages along the drive-thru lane allows customers in line to choose their orders early on.

Customers may have already chosen what they want to order, but as they move along the line and look at different signages, you can entice them to order additional items. Also, multiple signs can highlight high-profit menu items.

So, adding more signages can help shorten drive-thru lines and increase your sales by enticing people to order more as they wait for their turn.

4. Organize Your Drive-Thru Layout

In the same way that you need an organized kitchen to improve customer service and boost sales, you’d want to have an organized drive-thru layout. If the outside layout isn’t optimized, there could be unnecessary delays before orders are served. For instance, if the menu signage, speaker system, and takeout window are not located strategically, this may result in inconvenience for the customers.

On the other hand, when you have a smooth wrap-around drive-thru with every element in its proper place, the entire process from ordering to being served will proceed quickly and smoothly.

If the business is booming, you might want to consider adding parallel ordering stations. This way, your business can take double the number of orders, and cars don’t get clogged waiting in line. After all, if your line is too long, it can drive away customers, which means reduced sales.

5. Contactless Payment

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To enhance your customers’ drive-thru experience and increase service speed, consider investing in scan-to-pay contactless payment systems. This makes the entire process faster, allowing you to accommodate more customers for more sales.

For instance, you can invest in payment technology that allows customers to simply scan a QR code from a receipt or a management table, so they don’t have to pass cash, credit cards, or pens. In addition, you can also accept payment from a variety of digital wallets.

6. Designate An Employee Outside

Sometimes having the right technology isn’t enough, especially if your business is bustling. You may need to supplement technology to handle the volume of orders. In this case, you’ll have to rely on your employees.

Consider designating an employee or two outside to take the orders from motorists. You can provide them with tablets to take the orders and feed them directly to your point of sale (POS) system.

Doing so can achieve your goal of getting more people through your drive-thru window in the least amount of time, especially during peak hours.

7. Always Put Safety First

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Even before the pandemic, the restaurant industry needs to comply with food safety standards. The era of COVID-19 only added a few extra precautions and safety protocols to prevent the spread of the virus.

And even if the world starts to recover, the risk of getting COVID-19 still remains. So, you want to make sure your restaurant complies with standard health and safety protocols. This assures your customers and staff that their health and wellness are prioritized and protected.

To implement these safety protocols in your drive-thru system, consider the following tips:

8. Use Face Masks And Face Shields

Even if most states don’t require the wearing of face masks and face shields, it’s still important for those in the restaurant industry to provide their staff with the proper protective gear to lessen their risk of exposure and prevent the spread of the virus to the customers.

9. Post Policies

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You might want to put up signage instructing your customers on how to order and protect themselves. This includes mask requirements and frequent disinfection.

10. Add Disinfection Areas

Consider investing in an automatic alcohol dispenser, allowing customers to disinfect before and after they receive their order.


Pandemic or not, fast-food chains and restaurants have always leveraged a drive-thru system to boost sales. And with the tips mentioned above, you should be able to improve the speed of service and operation efficiency of your drive-thru. This enables you to ultimately increase sales and help your business thrive in the post-pandemic era.