The drive thru epitomises “fast food”.
It was McDonald’s who first brought the concept to the mainstream back in 1975, targeting high traffic locations with speedy service. Since then, drive thrus have popped up around the world with hundreds of fast food restaurants serving customers on the go.
The emergence of the drive thru kiosk
In the last decade, quick-service restaurants (QSRs) have increasingly gone digital at their drive thru windows. Digital displays are an ideal medium for a menu as it can rotate the options on offer (including throughout the day), reducing the space that would have been required for static posters. They also improve service efficiency as drivers can preemptively decide on their order by looking at a menu screen before they arrive at the order window. The effect this has is a reduction in perceived waiting time. The frustration that attends sitting in a queue of traffic can be warded off by giving customers something to read and think about.
When it comes to advertising, a drive thru kiosk is superior for engaging patrons. A study has shown that 4 times as many consumers would rather watch a video than read about a product. Even just animating text and images can have a huge impact on engagement. This is why huge franchises like McDonald’s incorporate their advertising campaigns into their digital signage, most famously, McDonald’s Monopoly which has been a family-favourite since 1987. Showing adverts or special offers to customers sat in the drive thru provides huge ROI as this is precisely the time they are most attuned to such messaging. Promotions encouraging consumers to ‘go large’ or pick up a dessert, for example, can be highly effective and increase the value of each sale at the point of purchase.
The drive thru kiosk has become a familiar sight to those of us who spend any time at service stations. Their popularity is only increasing with the cult bakery chain Greggs announcing this summer that they will be opening drive thrus throughout the UK. So what is next for the drive thru kiosk?
Number plate recognition for targeted content
Here at TrouDigital, we believe the answer lies in number plate recognition.
The advantage of choosing a smart platform is introducing a level of measurability and personalisation. Unlike with traditional posters and billboards, digital displays that are embedded with a camera or recording device can gather information about its audience. Number plate recognition software is becoming popular in a number of applications for gaining information about a vehicle’s user in a less intrusive way.
For the purposes of a drive thru, the technology exists where a QSR can log the previous orders of a customer through their number plate. This information then enables highly targeted marketing. A special promotion might be triggered on a drive thru kiosk that offers patrons deals targeted to their previous buying history. Alternatively, regular customers might be rewarded for their loyalty and thanked for repeat business.
We predict that smart drive thru kiosks that utilise number plate recognition will be mainstream across the QSR sector in the coming years. Rather than smart displays being used solely to trigger targeted content on screen, the most effective fast food franchises will incorporate this information into their customer service too. When pulling up at a Starbucks or Burger King in the future, we expect that the voice over the intercom will welcome us by asking if we would like our ‘usual’ order to go.
Far from being a gimmick, this will mark a convenience revolution to the drive thru market that will be the most significant innovation since McDonald’s opened its first drive-by four decades ago.
If you are interested in marketing your restaurant, check out our digital restaurant menu boards.
To discuss a digital signage project call 02380 981110 or book a demo.