Your drive-thru experience at your local Burger King is about to go digital. When Restaurant Brands, the parent company of Burger King, announced their intention to “digitize” the drive-thru experience at more than 10,000 Burger King locations, they thought customers were going to love it. Instead, people are furious that Burger King will be taking out the old speaker system and replacing it with a state-of-the-art drive-thru digital reader just like what is available at Starbucks and McDonald’s locations.
The digital drive-thru will appear at the 10,000 Burger King locations in the United States and Canada by the middle of 2022. With more than 18,675 restaurant locations around the globe, Restaurant Brands will be investing heavily in this drive-thru upgrade across North America.
Digital screens at the drive-thru provide restaurants with more customizability. Management can change promotions on a whim and even provide information about the weather on the drive-thru screen. Algorithms built into the digital drive-thru machine will be able to tell what items are selling particularly well and use that information to promote it to more customers at the drive-thru. Wall Street loves these types of innovations, while Main Street does not.
“The drive-thru business has been a big focus throughout the pandemic. I think it has been a big part of our business for Burger King and Popeye’s for decades. We’ve seen it obviously be a very important growth opportunity in the last seven or eight months,” Restaurant Brands CEO Jose Cil told Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.
Restaurant Brands is a major player in the fast-food market. It owns Burger King, Popeye’s Chicken, and Tim Horton’s (a major coffee shop across Canada). Restaurant Brands companies have not done too well amid the pandemic. Only Popeye’s continues to increase sales, but that is likely because it is riding on the coattails of its extremely popular and delicious chicken sandwich.
According to a report on Yahoo! Finance, Popeye’s sales have risen 17 percent while sales at Burger King and Tim Horton’s have fallen 7 and 12.5 percent, respectively.
While the digital drive-thru displays could increase the traffic into Burger King restaurants, the company CEO still believes quality food is what will earn repeat customers.
Jose Cil told Yahoo! Finance, “Our focus in the quarter and our focus the last several months has been on ensuring that our incredible food, our Whopper, in particular, our flagship product, we announced that it’s now got clean ingredients, so we’ve spent a lot of time and a lot of work with our suppliers, as well as our teams in the restaurants, to ensure that that product, the flagship product of Burger King, is the best that it can be.”
He added, “our focus continues to be on long-term sustainable growth in different dayparts, breakfast as well as our lunch and dinner. And we’re investing in technology, as well, and our delivery business has been growing tremendously, as has our drive-through off-premise business. So we ‘re– we’re excited about the long term. Lots of work to do to deliver on the plans that we have and look forward to keeping you posted on our progress at Burger King as well.”
What do you think about the upcoming Burger King changes?
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