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CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | Staff Reporter, Australia
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Why QSRs need to optimise their drive-thru business

Customers go to QSRs for two main things – speed and convenience.

Whether it’s dine in, click and collect, delivery, or drive-thru, demanding customers expect to get their food as quickly as possible. When the pandemic caused indefinite suspension of on-premises dining, QSRs scrambled to improve their off-premises, contactless services to satisfy the time-poor, hygiene-
conscious customers.

Drive-thru is one powerful segment that has proven to be a crucial source of revenue for QSRs especially during the height of the pandemic. According to market research firm NPD Group, in Australia, dine in occasions dropped 4 percentage points year-on-year in February 2020, whilst off site dining, including delivery, pick-up, and drive-thru services increased by 10%.

Analysts say the massive shift to off site dining is here to stay even after the world recovers from the pandemic. According to Deloitte, places that used to have just a fifth of their business from drive-thru before the pandemic are finding it has shot up to as high as 90%. As a result, brands are now exploring vast improvements in their drive-thru operations. “What does drive- thru innovation actually look like? It’s an experience that hasn’t changed much in 70 years, so
there must be room for improvement,” says Deloitte.

Loop timers or IR readers used to control speed of service in drive-thrus, but these tools are unreliable as they only time in predetermined places such as order, pay and delivery points, giving QSRs very limited visibility. This simply does not cut it. In order to be truly efficient, QSRs need to see a lot more than this.

Enter Eyecue™, a state-of-the-art technology developed by Fingermark™ that allows QSRs to make informed decisions from real-time drive-thru insights. With its comprehensive features, Eyecue™ is an unparalleled enabler helping QSRs increase visibility over their drive-thru business. It uses AI-enabled cameras that capture video in and around the drive-thru premises.

Machine vision detects, tracks, and times individual vehicles accurately whilst also recognising interactions between the staff and the vehicles to give true time-to-delivery. The accuracy level of Eyecue™ in terms of detecting and timing vehicles is now at 98%, having processed over 24 million vehicles. Through AI, the technology becomes more intelligent over time. It learns trends and predicts patterns that are crucial to optimising QSRs’ drive-thru business.

Eyecue™ also provides QSRs with actionable real-time insights via configurable dashboards that show drive-thru status, throughput and targets, allowing managers to remove bottlenecks and increase throughput.

“Data assists in uncovering operational blind spots for QSRs, which results in a domino effect starting with better efficiency, more customers served in less time, superior customer experience, and greater revenues. It is important to give staff actionable insights and tools to make changes that impact operational efficiency and customer satisfaction,” says Luke Irving, founder and CEO of Fingermark™.

With robust data gathering and predictive analytics, Eyecue™ enables QSRs to make decisions that can dramatically improve the drive-thru efficiency. For instance, when live data reveal that customer journey times have been over target for the last several cars, the QSR restaurant manager would know that the staff are struggling to move cars through the drive-thru and may therefore need to add more staff or utilise wait bays.

Or, when data from Eyecue™ indicates baulking increases by 25% at peak times because they are waiting in line for too long, QSRs can examine and modify staff rosters during those periods. When wrong orders are being paid for because staff members fail to correctly ID the vehicle (in a dual lane drive-thru), QSRs can add an “approaching car” widget to the staff’s live dashboard.

At the end of the day, delivering a stellar customer experience is every QSR’s utmost priority. Fingermark™ enables QSRs to achieve this and more through Eyecue™, a powerful technology that provides fast, accurate, and intelligent insights that are crucial for the optimisation of drive-thru.

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