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PDQ Restaurants Improves Drive-Thru Experience

PDQ focused on optimizing drive-thru service and throughput to support the influx of guests utilizing drive-thru over traditional dine-in options due to COVID-19 restrictions
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PDQ tested new drive-thru strategies to increase throughput capacity and decrease guests leaving the queue.
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PDQ Restaurants partnered with Logile Inc. to improve the drive-thru experience at its current restaurants as well as future locations.

In addition to serving fresh, affordable food, hospitality is at the core of PDQ’s restaurant experience. In the spring 2020, social distancing guidelines placed restrictions on indoor dining. In response, PDQ extended service to its valued guests by offering online ordering with curbside pickup and launching a mobile order app and loyalty program this April.

Like other fast-casual restaurants, PDQ has seen a dramatic increase in demand for drive-thru service. The restaurant’s goals are to decrease drive-thru queue lengths, improve wait times for guests, and maintain the strong focus on hospitality present in its dine-in service.

Kep Sweeney, president of PDQ Restaurants said, “The COVID pandemic put significant demand on our drive-thru processes. To emphasize our commitment to providing our guests exceptional service, we sought a partner to provide us with new ideas and concepts to help us improve our current way of doing things. As we talked with others in the QSR industry, Logile was highly recommended for their experience and knowledge in this area.”

Logile’s Operational Excellence team leveraged a variety of industrial engineering approaches to assess drive-thru experience at a variety of PDQ locations. The main objectives of the engagement were to:

  • Measure and analyze PDQ’s drive-thru service from the guest point of view

  • Identify bottlenecks and opportunities at existing units

  • Improve speed of service and guest engagement

  • Explore innovative approaches to enhance the guest experience

To evaluate the complete guest perspective, Logile studied the total journey time from the time guests entered and exited the queue. This allowed PDQ to understand how frequently guests were leaving the queue during peak hours, and generally how long guests wait before abandoning the line.

In partnership, Logile and PDQ explored new drive-thru strategies to increase throughput capacity and decrease guests leaving the queue. As the current drive-thru strategy was analyzed, Logile focused on quick wins by optimizing and balancing workload across all the drive-thru stations. Logile’s industrial engineers leveraged the data collected to develop simulations of current and future state. The simulation-driven strategy was leveraged to quickly evaluate the impact of proposed scenarios on throughput rate and guest retention in the queue.

PDQ, headquartered in Tampa, Florida, operates 58 restaurants across Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey and New York.

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