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How Technology is Transforming the Drive-Through Experience

If there's one area of the restaurant business that has been largely untouched by technology, it's the drive-through. Sure, there have been some innovations here and there, but for the most part, the drive-through experience has remained largely the same for decades. But that may be changing. Thanks to a new crop of start-ups, the drive-through experience is about to get a high-tech makeover. Here's a look at how technology is transforming the drive-through experience.





In-Car Ordering

One of the biggest changes coming to the drive-through experience is in-car ordering. This new technology allows customers to place their orders directly from their vehicles, without having to interact with a human being at all. There are a few different ways that this can be done. Some systems use an in-vehicle touchscreen interface, while others use voice recognition technology to take orders.


One of the benefits of in-car ordering is that it can help reduce order times. That's because customers will no longer have to wait in line to place their orders. They can simply pull up to the ordering station, input their order into the system, and then pay for it using either their credit card or smartphone. In theory, this could help restaurants move more customers through the drive-through lane more quickly.


Another benefit of in-car ordering is that it could lead to higher average order sizes. That's because customers will no longer feel rushed when placing their orders. They'll be able to take their time and add on additional items if they want. This could be a big win for restaurants, as higher average order sizes mean more revenue per customer.


Augmented Reality Menus

Another way that technology is transforming the drive-through experience is with augmented reality menus. These menus will allow customers to see photos and videos of menu items before they order them. This could be particularly helpful for customers who are unsure of what they want to order or who have dietary restrictions and need to know exactly what ingredients are in each dish.


To use an augmented reality menu, customers will simply point their smartphones at the menu board and then scroll through the various dishes that are available. They'll be able to see photos, videos, and descriptions of each dish, as well as pricing information. This will all be displayed on their phone's screen in real-time.


Contactless Payment Systems

Another way that technology is changing the drive-through experience is with contactless payment systems. These systems will allow customers to pay for their orders without ever having to hand over their credit card or cash. Instead, they'll simply use their smartphone or smartwatch to make a payment.


There are a few different ways that this can be done. One option is to use NFC (near field communication) technology to make a payment. Customers would simply hold their device up to an NFC reader at the payment terminal and then enter their PIN code or fingerprint to confirm the transaction. Another option is to use QR codes. Customers would scan a QR code at the payment terminal with their smartphone and then enter their payment information into the app that pops up on their screen.


Technology is starting to transform the drive-through experience in a number of different ways. In-car ordering systems are making it possible for customers to place their orders without ever having to interact with a human being. Augmented reality menus are letting customers see photos and videos of menu items before they order them. And contactless payment systems are making it possible for customers to pay for their orders without ever having leave their vehicles. Ultimately, these changes could lead to shorter wait times and higher average order sizes for restaurants—a win-win for both businesses and customers alike!

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