It’s time to change the drive-thru.

Starbucks_and_Bank_of_America_Drive_Through
Coolcaesar at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
It’s easy to take drive-thrus for granted–it’s the ideal solution for the impulse food purchase in a fast-food restaurant. However, after decades of car-based food ordering, it’s time to improve how we do drive-thru. Here are some ways we could improve the drive-thru.

Use NFC and other similar wireless technology to improve ordering.

In what might be one of the most stressful and infuriating components of ordering at the drive-thru (or the drive-through), is ordering up. One of the worst things that can happen is that the server having you repeat your order–or worse, having the server getting your order incorrectly. With the advent of smartphones, it’s much more preferable to just put a few taps on an app and have the order scanned through a barcode, or even wave your smartphone through and move on through. With technologies such as NFC and Bluetooth, this approach to drive-thru shouldn’t be difficult to implement.

Bring back the drive-in.

Popularized by the Sonic chain of fast-food restaurants, it might be worth the while to bring back the drive-in concept. Not only you don’t have the issue of cars queuing your drive-thru line and potentially blocking traffic, but also provides an easy car parking turnover rate and provide an incentive against coming in and ordering to go.

Make the drive-thru a pickup-only line.

Already instituted at some fast-casual restaurants, it may be possible to get rid of the on-demand ordering that many people come to love and make the drive-thru a pick-up only line. Yes, this will involve a large culture change on how the drive-thru works, but this can improve traffic flow among fast-food restaurants, which can be a big problem.