In This Article

On November 1, 2021 the Design & Insights Team at World Wide Technology logged onto their computers to attend a live panel discussion: The Drive-Thru Has Changed Everything. Featuring author Meredith Sandland and a handful of other outstanding QSR industry leaders, the webinar was truly inspiring. We decided to take some key learnings from the hour-long session and turn them into low-fidelity visualizations of the features that every brand should consider to revolutionize their relationships with their customers.

The smart speaker box

"I wanted to look at the accessibility of the speaker box. The drive-thru experience has been unchanged for fifty years aside from the rise of digital signage. We have all had that awkward moment of not rolling down in time to respond and you are not sure if they are ready for your order, or you cannot hear the order taker, or rain is just pouring into your car window. Let's take that speaker box and have it recognize languages starting with 'hello' in the user's native language, gestures such as a person signing in ASL, or even voice activated so it can read out to the person menu items. Looking ahead at a future with autonomous vehicles, it opens the drive-thru to a new group of users such as the visual impairment community. The speaker box doesn't have to just be the equipment outside, it could be our phones in our pockets, letting users chat with the smart speaker without even having to roll down their windows."  

- Lilly Huxhold, Digital Art Director  

A drive-thru that knows me


"What can we do to create a seamless experience of placing highly customized orders, and support preferences, dietary needs such as allergies? What if, when you drive up, it knows you? It knows your preferences and shows what can meet your needs on the menu signage or even prompt you on your phone. A great product of this is the ability to easily reorder and creating that hyper personalized experience for the customer where they feel like the brand is engaging with them one on one."  

- Lindsay Johnson, Digital Art Director

Seamless locker pick-up


"We have the lockers in stores to pick up food, can we bring that into a fast drive thru lane, where it is self-serve, and all the customer needs to do is enter their code from their phone and can grab their food without having to wait in the longer drive thru and not have to get out of their car. Drive-thru wait times have skyrocketed during the pandemic, and we are already seeing brands look at a future with multiple designated lanes. This could enable a fast experience for the order ahead group and while still allowing for the impromptu order experience we all know and rely on."  

-Tysha Long, Digital Designer

The future is not as distant as we think 

With the rapid pace of change in customer behavior in the last year and the corresponding rapid development of new technology solutions, it's important to take stock of where your tech stack is now and look forward to how your brand can better meet consumers at their mindsets. 

There are a lot of things we get nerdy about from this webinar, from a seamless curbside pickup to an effortless customer experience; but truly nothing gets us more excited though than a fast, personalized way to grab our favorite foods. 

WWT is committed to ideating and implementing technology that puts customers at the center of the solution. It's about making customers feel their best when physically engaging with a brand-- an experience that, then, seamlessly flows from mobile to pick-up. 

Check out the articles that helped shaped our future view:

Touchless Taco Bell could be the future of drive-thrus 

What The Next Generation of Drive Thru Looks Like 

The Future of McDonald's Is in the Drive-Thru Lane 

Welcome to the drive-thru, AI will take your order.