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Increase Drive-Thru Business with Wireless Vehicle Detection System [Success Story]

Fast food restaurants rely heavily on their drive-thru service, and they earn much of their revenue from drive-thru sales. Streamlining the drive-thru process in quick serve restaurants (QSR) can increase revenue and improve customer satisfaction.  By combining wireless vehicle detection sensors with an analytical software platform, restaurants can track the speed of service and compare drive-thru times at multiple locations. This visibility enables managers to identify where bottlenecks occur, and it allows stores to compete to improve their drive-thru service. 

Drive Thru Vehicle Detection

Watch the video to see how a wireless vehicle detection solution at a drive thru can improve efficiency and save costs.

Vehicle Detection Challenges at Drive-Thru Lanes

When drive-thru ordering lanes are backed up, it is very common to lose customers to other nearby restaurants, especially during peak mealtime hours. Maintaining a consistent turnover in drive-thru windows generates more customers, maximizes profits, and improves customer experience.

Most QSR facilities use inductive loop systems for vehicle detection, which is costly and requires significant downtime for installation and maintenance. Drive-thru lanes must often be closed or re-routed during installation, which reduces sales and can result in a negative customer experience.  Loop systems can also be expensive depending on the demands of the application. Adding more ordering stations as the business expands would require additional cables to run back to the restaurant, which means even more downtime.

Installations that require intrusive alterations to infrastructure can add significant expense to a system deployment. Tearing out and replacing concrete or asphalt can be costly, and digging large holes to bury inductive loops in the ground can lead to uneven surfaces or potholes in the future. The QSR industry is very competitive, and extra costs or downtime can seriously impact profitability.

A Smart Solution for Vehicle Detection and Monitoring

Combining wireless magnetometers with an analytics software that can track drive-thru times enables business owners and managers to identify bottlenecks that are slowing down the drive thru line.  A timer system that monitors drive-thru wait times and compares them to other stores within the same franchise creates a motivational tool that improves overall performance and sales. Wait times from each store are presented on leaderboards and top stores can receive rewards for short wait times.  Top-performing locations can also be used as case studies to help identify improvements for under-performing franchises.  

At a recent customer site, Banner Engineering’s wireless M-GAGE nodes were installed at each ordering station and drive-thru window to keep track of vehicles as they move through the lanes at quick serve restaurants. The gathered information was then sent to a DXM100 wireless controller, which aggregated the data and delivered it to a cloud-based platform for analysis. 

Using wireless products eliminated the need for costly cable runs. The low cost of the nodes, in addition to the overall savings from deployment, made it possible to install units at numerous locations without exorbitant costs.  The M-GAGE nodes are compact, fully potted and sealed, easy-to-use devices--all of which simplified the installation process. This also minimized damage to the ground and reduced the risk of infrastructure problems after installation. 

The Benefits of a Cloud-Based System

A wireless sensor network combined with analytics software creates a drive-thru monitoring system to support a smart restaurant design. The wireless products work as part of a cloud-based system and enables QSR franchises to create a simplified, network-based ordering system and pickup service. Installing a drive-thru performance system sets the stage for future expansion as business grows. 

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