Personnel planning is a challenge for every business and drive thru line busting is no different. To get an understanding of how many team members you will need to run your line busting operation, start by putting one employee outside on line busting duty to learn how to move between cars, and use the iPads in a POS role. This first employee is your line busting "test pilot" and needs to be your best employee who has experience serving customers, knowledge of all of the systems, is a master of your menu, and thinks well on their feet to solve problems quickly and autonomously.
After one to three days of testing (actual mileage may vary), start adding as many team members to the line busting operation as fast as possible. You should be up to two employees on line busting duty within four or five days of starting your single employee test runs.
Starting in week two (again, actual mileage may vary), you will want to consider adding a third person to be a payment taker, separate from the order takers. This will enable your order takers to move faster between vehicles, increasing throughput. As you scale up and refine your line busting drive thru operation, add additional order takers as needed.
The final step is to add people to deliver food to cars so that multiple cars can bypass the window at any given time. Ideally, you will have a pull out or exit lane at your window to allow for “customer leapfrogging.” If you don’t have the real estate for an exit lane, then you’ll want to have a pull forward waiting area so you can exit the cars who have orders with longer prep times to prevent them from holding up the line.
This type of flow management is part of how you turn perception into reality for your customers. By moving a longer prep time order out of the drive thru lane and into a waiting space or having an exit lane to let shorter prep time cars leapfrog the longer prep time cars, you are creating an environment where customers see vehicles constantly moving while they are moving themselves. This helps customers feel the shorter wait time you are now delivering. By extension, this boosts throughput, and keeps your customer complaints down, while keeping repeat business up. Perception is reality...