There’s nothing like the convenience of revving up to a drive-thru window on your trip home. Once inessential add-ons to an otherwise already-spectacular drive-thru performance, speed and service are now what make drive-thrus top contenders. What with the rise of third-party delivery services and mobile ordering, drive-thru operations must undergo a fashionable makeover to improve customer retention. So, what’s the secret sauce?

Indulge Your Brand in Some Self-Discovery

“Who are you as a brand?” is a tired question that proves demotivating if you feel you have little control over how you’re perceived online. But, as the saying goes, no one knows you better than you do. Having a strong grasp over your mission and vision can set you apart from competitors who still appear to be soul-searching. 

That being said, you’ll also want to get to know your target audience. What menu items are crowd favorites? What types of visitors frequent your drive-thru most? When you advertise your drive-thru, who responds? Knowing how best to cater to your audience’s needs will keep them coming back for more. (That, of course, and your mouth-watering meals)

Put Your Brand to Work

Knowing your brand from head to toe is one thing—giving an audience a tempting taste is another. Craft your assets according to your key characteristics and what your audience seems to respond to most frequently. If possible, perform a little keyword research to plug into your ad copy—the better you rank, the higher your chances of attracting quality customers. 

At the end of the day, you want to drive customers towards your drive-thru window, but you also want to let them know who you are and what they can expect through your service. 

Implement a Strategy—Don’t Forget to Deliver (Literally!)

If you claim to be drive-thru royalty, you better be prepared to deliver. Through messaging and advertising, you create customer expectations. What separates a good experience from a great one is whether or not you deliver on those promises. 

Part of implementing a strategy is knowing what you have to work with. If you haven’t yet optimized delivery speed and efficiency, give your kitchen layout a once-over. Pinpoint areas of improvement and how you can restructure your venue to ensure maximum productivity. 

If you’re already employing delivery services, a lack of structure can result in a clogged kitchen. Come up with a system that separates drive-thru orders from mobile ones, each with a dedicated section if possible. 

Don’t let customer service suffer by allowing your service speed and accuracy to take a hit. What it always comes down to is planning—and you’ll want to do it from the get-go!


Among the trends expected to boom in the coming years, food is never too far behind. Customer expectations are shifting, and drive-thru competitors are doing whatever they can to stay on top of the market. Determining your brand reputation can help streamline your operations if your customers know what to expect. 

To improve employee performance and customer experiences, get a free consultation with us at JM Ridgway! Armed with the most experienced mystery shoppers, we can zero in on aspects of your business that need work and others that are performing to their highest potential. 

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