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DRIVE THRU TECHNOLOGY

The Great Outdoors: Bringing Exemplary Guest Experiences to Your Drive Thru

How to Transform Your Drive Thru Into an Engaging Hub of Customer Satisfaction


The entire world of QSR is intently focused on delivering engaging and memorable guest experiences. And for good reason. With heightened consumer expectations and a more intense competitive landscape, QSR teams must deliver more than great food, fast. They must appeal to the minds and hearts of guests in a way that builds loyalty and stands out in a sea of alternative dining options.

But most of the guest experience conversation is focused inside the restaurant, leaving a critical piece of the QSR model on the outside looking in. Research indicates that 70 percent of your customers will experience your restaurant from inside their cars.1 Unfortunately, for most QSRs, the drive thru guest experience is left wanting.

Whether inside or outside, every guest experience matters. But how can your business blow the roof off guest experience by bringing the same engagement it delivers inside the restaurant to the great outdoors?

Over the past several years, the lion’s share of QSRs have said goodbye to outdated static indoor signage and hello to fresh digital menu boards that not only do your menu justice, but also empower radical new possibilities for guest engagement and sales. Despite widespread indoor digital signage adoption, most drive thru menus remain in a sad and static state.

Outdoor digital signage can transform your drive thru from your front counter’s distant cousin into an engaging hub of customer satisfaction. Here’s how:

Speed Things Up

Speed is the name of the game when it comes to your drive thru window. When on-the-go customers pull up, they are expecting to place orders quickly, pay for their food, and be on their way. As a result, drive-thru guests don’t have the luxury of time that indoor guests have to consider all menu options. Once in the lane, they must quickly make menu selections and order—lest be “beeped” by other hungry guests.

Digital signage, proven to capture 10x more attention than static menu boards2, allows customers in line to efficiently read menu content and take notice of timely LTOs. With high-definition graphics and video-based content, outdoor digital signage empowers guests to consider more in less time—a perfect fit for the drive thru’s high pressure ordering scenario. Plus, with Order Confirmation Units in place to accelerate order confirmation and highlight complementary items, your drive thru can operate like a well-oiled machine, even during high-traffic periods.

Personalize the Guest Experience 

Your drive-thru guests also lack critical face time with crew members, which can make the experience feel cold and impersonal relative to what a guest might experience inside the restaurant. In addition, little face time means less opportunity for crew members to encourage the purchase of specials, seasonal items, new menu additions, and LTOs. Yet, today’s consumers desire friendly brand interactions and personalized offers—a tall order to fill in a busy drive thru.

Despite 54% of consumers being open to complementary selling3, only 27% of large QSR brands leverage such techniques at their drive thru.4 Outdoor digital signage, which automatically updates based on day part, season, and day of week, can guarantee that each of your locations provides customized, timely suggestions to guests, while embedded Order Confirmation Units work in real-time to recommend items that complement a customer’s ticket. This makes guests feel uniquely served, simultaneously growing satisfaction, loyalty, and sales.

Get it Right

The drive-thru experience doesn’t end when a customer pulls out of your parking lot. When customers arrive at their final destination, ready to chow down on their meal, they expect the food they ordered to be the food in the bag. Anything less will result in a negative overall experience and a lower likelihood of repeat visits. At the same time, the drive thru poses unique order accuracy challenges by relying on microphones and speakers to relay guest orders. 

With 1 in 10 orders fulfilled incorrectly, a positive customer experience can transform to a negative one in seconds.5 Freestanding or embedded Order Confirmation Units mitigate mistakes by allowing drive-thru customers to view and confirm their order before paying and driving away, so no unexpected surprises come when they open their bag.

But going digital outdoors means more than placing stand-out screens at the drive thru and calling it a day. Behind every vibrant screen is a dynamic platform that makes management downright simple and places your customers at the center. At SICOM, our Digital Menu Board content management framework is set apart by:

  1. Portal Access: Our intuitive, web-based Digital Menu Board Portal makes deploying updates and managing indoor and outdoor signage as simple as a single click of a button, empowering you to deliver a dynamic and ever-evolving customer experience.
  2. Health Monitoring: Digital Menu Board Health Monitoring allows operators to access their digital signage metrics anytime, anywhere—enabling them to manage menu boards at scale while measuring content effectiveness.
  3. Digital Content Team: Our Digital Content Team is focused on pairing your brand’s stand-out creative with advanced business logic to create an active outdoor selling environment that drives sales.

The Outdoor Forecast is Sunny

SICOM Outdoor Digital Signage brings extraordinary guest experiences to the great outdoors. Through vibrant, high-definition graphics, embedded or freestanding Order Confirmation Unit options, and single, dual, and triple screen configurations, SICOM delivers the flexible solutions you need to delight guests—no matter your drive-thru footprint. Plus, with the strategic assistance of the SICOM Digital Content Team and round-the-clock technical support from SICOMSERV, SICOM will help you transform your drive thru into a powerful engine for engagement and sales.  

Outdoor Digital Signage

Are you ready to bring indoor engagement to the outdoors? Learn about our Outdoor Digital Signage. 

Contact SICOM Today

contact sicom

Mussana Hashmi
January 25, 2018

As our resident digital signage expert and product manager, Mussana knows how to bring rich digital experiences to the QSR through data-driven digital signage—both inside the restaurant and in the drive thru.

Connect with Mussana on LinkedIn

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