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How to Enhance a Food Truck’s Drive-Thru Service

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In the midst of the ongoing pandemic, drive-thru windows have become a crucial source of revenue for restaurants. With dining rooms either closed or operating at limited capacity, customers are opting for contact-free methods of ordering food. It’s not unusual to see long queues of cars waiting for drive-thru service that allows them to stay safely inside their vehicles. Whether you’re a seasoned drive-thru operator or looking to add this service to your food truck business in response to the coronavirus outbreak, we have some valuable tips to help you make your drive-thru service safe and efficient.

Implementing Safety Protocols

Safety protocols have become the new norm for restaurants diversifying their services or reopening after a closure. By implementing these protocols at your drive-thru window, you can demonstrate to your customers that you’re serious about protecting everyone’s health. Here are some key measures to consider:

Cashier Shields

Installing transparent shields at your drive-through windows serves a dual purpose. Firstly, it acts as a protective barrier between your employees and guests, ensuring the safety of both parties. Secondly, it visually reinforces your commitment to health and sanitation. While the drive-thru window itself provides some protection when it’s closed, a cashier shield adds an extra layer of safety when it’s open.

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Contactless Handoff

Train your staff to utilize contactless methods when serving customers. Using a serving tray to pass items from the drive-thru window to the customer’s car is an effective way to avoid direct hand contact. This not only minimizes the risk of transmission but also helps customers feel more at ease.

Face Masks

Depending on your location, face masks may be mandatory or recommended for restaurant employees. Regardless of the requirements, your customers will appreciate knowing that your staff wears protective masks while preparing their orders.

Keeping Your Menu Board Up-to-date

To streamline the ordering process and prevent customer disappointment, it’s essential to keep your menu board updated. If certain food items are temporarily unavailable, promptly remove them from the drive-thru menu board. Investing in a digital menu board allows you to make immediate changes to items and pricing. Instead of manually updating the menu board, a few seconds is all it takes to keep it current.

Instituting Online Ordering

Offering online ordering for your drive-thru service allows customers to place their orders directly through your website and pick them up at their preferred time. This reduces wait times and gives customers the convenience of placing orders from any device, wherever they may be. One of the most appealing aspects of online ordering is the ability for customers to customize their orders to their liking. By allowing guests to have complete control over their orders, you minimize the chances of mistakes and enhance customer satisfaction.

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Embracing Touchless Payment

Implementing touchless payment methods in your drive-thru speeds up service and minimizes direct hand contact with customers. You can set up payment options on your online ordering platform or use a tap-to-pay terminal that can read both cards and mobile phones. Customers simply wave or tap their cards over the contactless terminal to make a payment. This quick and easy transaction ensures efficient service for each customer.

Test Your Own Drive-Thru

To ensure your drive-thru service meets your desired standards, try going through the entire process yourself. Mimic a customer’s experience by ordering and observing how quickly and smoothly your order is prepared. Pay attention to the clarity of your menu board, the audibility of the drive-thru speaker, and whether safety protocols are being followed by your staff. This firsthand experience will help you identify any areas for improvement.

Maintain a Well-Stocked Drive-Thru Station

To avoid interruptions in service and keep things running smoothly, it’s vital to ensure your drive-thru window is always stocked with essential items. Having staff leave the window during a shift to search for napkins, cup lids, or condiments slows down service and leaves the window unattended. Organize all necessary supplies for efficiency, utilizing stackable condiment bins and in-counter cup dispensers designed for limited countertop space. By keeping everything readily available, you prevent frustrating situations where customers have to turn their cars around because something was forgotten.

Regularly Maintain Your Drive-Thru Window

Neglected but important, the drive-thru window itself plays a central role and is subject to continuous use and exposure to the elements. To prolong its lifespan and ensure optimal functionality, establish a cleaning and maintenance schedule. Regularly inspect the window frame, glass, and slide track, removing any debris, dead leaves, or organic matter that may hinder its operation.

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The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has brought about changes in the restaurant industry that will likely continue to influence how businesses interact with customers. Drive-thru service offers restaurants the opportunity to generate additional revenue while providing a safe, contact-free dining experience. By implementing safety protocols, embracing technology, and maintaining high standards, your food truck drive-thru service can thrive in these challenging times.


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