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7 Tips for First-Time Drive-Thru Managers

Posted: June 29, 2020 at 5:58 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels

Working for a drive-thru may be very different from working at a restaurant. There are many challenges that you may not face at a traditional restaurant. If you find a way to overcome these challenges, you can move up the management ladder faster than you’d expect.

Here are a few tips that can come in handy if you’re a manager running a drive-thru for the very first time:

Tip #1: Understand the Business

Understanding your industry is essential if you want to manage your drive-thru efficiently. You’ll have to know the expectations of your customers and find a way to meet them successfully. Getting through day-to-day hassles in one thing, but you’ll also have to work on long-term strategies to help keep your drive-thru functioning efficiently for years to come. 

You can start by researching your competitors, analyzing trends, evaluating marketing results, and improving your time management skills. To go the extra mile, see if you can find a mentor who can give you a tip or two to help you overcome your challenges.

Tip #2: Empower Your Team

Managing a drive-thru requires advanced multitasking abilities. If you think you can micromanage, think again. The key is to delegate your responsibilities and empower your team with the right kind of motivation and strategies to help you achieve your goals successfully. 

Identify the less-critical day-to-day chores and delegate them to employees you can trust; that way, you focus on the more critical issues of your drive-thru operations. 

Here are a few team-building strategies to consider:

  • Adopt a positive attitude at all times
  • Monitor the performance of your employees and give them constructive feedback
  • Have one-on-one meetings with your employees and express interest in their well-being
  • Reward their performance and encourage them to do better

Tip #3: Hire the Right People

Another key to running a successful operation is hiring the right people. This may take time and trial and error, but having a trustworthy team will be worth it in the end. To manage your staff, you should: 

  • Identify the skill sets that your potential employees should have
  • Make sure your job postings include a well-defined job description
  • Come up with a list of questions that you want to ask your potential candidates in the interview—questions could include questions about customer service and problem-solving
  • Set clear expectations for anyone you decide to hire

Tip #4: Have the Right Equipment

Successfully running a drive-thru is all about processing transactions quickly. From taking orders, to food preparation, to billing, you’ll need high-quality equipment to keep up with the pace of incoming customers. Be sure to consider the following types of drive-thru equipment: 

  • A 3M drive thru intercom and headset system
  • A cloud-based POS system
  • Digital menu boards.
  • Any other equipment such as oven high-efficiency coffee-makers, ice cream-makers, grills, refrigerator, walk-in-freezers, sinks, etc. 

Tip #5: Take the Time to Train

It is the quality of service you provide that breeds customer loyalty. Exceeding customer expectations requires you to train all employees in: 

  • Properly using the equipment and systems
  • How to communicate with customers in the drive-thru setting
  • Providing fast and efficient service
  • Multitasking
  • Problem-solving when issues inevitably arise 

Tip #6: Work on Your Communication

Communication is one of the primary skills you need to have as a drive-thru manager. A major part of your success depends on your ability to communicate effectively with your staff, the restaurant owner, and customers. 

To improve your communications skills, try to: 

  • Be honest in your communication
  • Have clear objectives and standards
  • Set short-term as well as long-term goals and share them with the appropriate team members 
  • Be a team player
  • Learn to be firm without coming across as rude or arrogant

Tip #7: Set an Example

Being a leader is all about setting an example. If you want your staff to perform at a higher level, you’ll have to make sure you demonstrate this behavior first. As a leader, you should: 

  • Make sure your employees understand the goals and expectations you set for them 
  • Be clear about business objectives and productivity goals
  • Make sure your employees are aware of different strategies for meeting their productivity goals
  • Make it a point to learn from your employees too 

The Manager Mindset

Being a successful manager of a drive-thru requires adopting the right attitude and mindset. Try to stay flexible and to address issues as they arise. Keep in mind that the best managers are those who set fair expectations, communicate well, and reward good work. 

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