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Case Study: How a Fast Food Franchise Helped Consumers Speed Through the Drive-Thru—and Drove up Sales

by Christian Gulliksen  |  
April 10, 2007
  |  125 views

Company: Miami Management
Contact: Brian Fields, Miami Management's director of operations
Location: Lexington, Kentucky (US headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio)
Industry: Fast food franchises (B2C)
Annual revenue: Confidential
Number of employees: 600

Quick Read:

Fast food consumers are rarely loyal—if they see a shorter line across the street, that's usually where they'll go. Accordingly, Miami Management—which owns 16 Wendy's franchises in Kentucky—implemented new technology that changes the drive-thru process by adding multiple lanes and a remote order center. The long-term payoff: quicker, more accurate service for customers and increased sales for the restaurants. First, however, franchise owners had to encourage customers to try the new system.

Challenge:

The drive-thru process has remained virtually unchanged for decades. Moreover, fast food is a fungible commodity—consumers are willing to go to a rival if they think that will satisfy their hunger quickly. In an effort to differentiate itself from competitors, and ultimately increase sales via the drive-thru, Miami Management tried a new technology that required the physical addition of extra drive-thru lanes.


Campaign:

Brian Fields, the director of operations for Miami Management of Lexington, Kentucky, wanted to increase sales at his Wendy's franchises. One option: give his drive-thru an advantage over rivals, such as speedier and more accurate service. He was a customer of Massachusetts-based Exit41 Technology when he heard about Order Perfect, a new drive-thru system that Exit41 had developed. He decided to give it a try, testing it first in two of his 16 restaurants last September.

The Order Perfect system has three components:

  1. Multiple-Lane Drive-Thru Configurations: Adding lanes—for a total of two or three—that move cars through the line with greater efficiency. Customers driving by see short or no lines and become more likely to choose the restaurant.

  2. Remote Order Centers: An offsite order center uses VoIP technology to take orders from each lane and transmit them back to the restaurant for fulfillment. Because the dedicated order takers aren't distracted by other duties, they can focus on accuracy and suggestive sales methods, thereby improving efficiency and profits.

  3. Picture Perfect: A camera takes a picture of each customer so that on-site staff can match each order to each customer.

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Christian Gulliksen is a writer who has authored several of the Get to the Po!nt newsletters for MarketingProfs. A former editor at Robb Report, he has also contributed to Worth, Variety, and The Hollywood Reporter.

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