Hardee's Franchisee Streamlines Drive-Thru Efficiency

By Clint Cooke, Sr. Director of Restaurant Systems, Boddie-Noell Enterprises, Inc. | December 10, 2008

As any quick service restaurant operator will tell you, drive-thru speed and efficiency are vital to business. Many of the drive-thru timers on the market today are based on POS key strokes, a tool that provides operators with a good reference point but is not always the most accurate way to track drive-thru times. That's why when CKE (www.ckr.com) (Hardee's parent company) directed franchisee Boddie-Noell to use a timing system based on the physical presence of a vehicle, management turned to Hyperactive Technologies (www.gohyper.com), the makers of a real-time drive-thru timer called QTimer.

QTimer allows Boddie-Noell (www.bneinc.com) to do some very creative things. To date, the franchisee has upgraded roughly 110 locations with an additional 230 to go. The rollout of QTimer is being done in conjunction with the rollout of Hyperactive's order confirmation board (HyperView) and both are completely integrated with their current POS.

Real-time reporting
One of the biggest advantages of this technology is the ability to accurately track drive-thru times. QTimer features a visual representation of cars in the drive-thru lane, and a drive-thru service metric that displays the customer's drive-thru time. This alone has resulted in some significant savings in drive-thru times because management can track everything, from greet times and menu board times, to lane, window and total times. Management combines the keystroke timing system with the loop detector system to determine when a car pulls up to the menu board and how long the customer waits to place an order. If staff blow their drive-thru times, management can look at specific orders and identify where the stall occurred, and if there is a repetitive situation that needs to be addressed.

Management can also see where they stand in real-time at the POS, which is displayed in a three-tiered process: green when the order is within the standard, yellow when they hit a critical number, and red when the standard is exceeded. It is an attention getting-display that really motivates staff. In the past, the only way that staff would have known these times was to look at the POS printouts at the end of the day.

Boddie-Noell is also implementing the use of an online portal from Hyperactive that allows management to analyze drive-thru performances. Regional managers can look at all of their restaurants to compare store performances. They can identify their best performing stores at breakfast and then compare those times against problem stores to determine a plan of action. Fifteen seconds faster is a lot of time when a customer is sitting in a drive-thru; Boddie-Noell's management is looking at ways to utilize that information to address standards and minimize drive-thru time.

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