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Taco Bell Streamlines Drive-Thru Experience Across Franchises

Established in 1982, Desert de Oro Foods is Arizona's largest Taco Bell franchisee. Desert de Oro Foods is a family-owned and operated business with locations in Arizona, California and Utah. Based in Kingman, Arizona, Desert de Oro Foods' IT team outfits and supports more than 140 restaurants in the region. The franchisee prides itself on putting people first -- both team members and guests. This commitment is an important aspect of Desert de Oro Foods' desire to create a positive and seamless drive-thru experience for guests and drive-thru team members.
Desert de Oro Foods' Taco Bell locations had a range of drive-thru communications systems that were deployed over the last five years. However, restaurants were experiencing poor sound quality due to a limited range of wireless capabilities with the current systems. Poor audio quality led to increased wait times for customers as a result of miscommunications and mistakes. In addition, Desert de Oro Foods knew it needed to move to a digital system as the analog bandwidth of its current systems would be ruled out by the FCC at the end of 2012.
In addition to sound quality issues, the drive-thru headsets were continually breaking and needing to be sent out for repair. As a result, Desert de Oro Foods had to keep extra headsets on hand to prevent a reduction in drive-thru staff when failures occurred. The cost of shipping, repairing and retrofitting plus downtime made it clear to the Desert de Oro Foods IT team that it needed to look at alternative drive-thru headsets.
A sound solution
Parrish Jackson, Director of IT for Desert de Oro Foods, met with RF Technologies Inc., a leading drive-thru reseller, at a Taco Bell franchisee show in early 2012. RF Technologies had been working with Desert de Oro Foods to repair broken headsets and replace fragile parts with a more durable solution. After discussing Desert de Oro Foods' system needs going forward, RF Technologies introduced Jackson to Panasonic's Attune® drive-thru communications system and offered him the opportunity to try out the Attune system along with three other brands to test the noise cancelling quality and headset durability.
"After testing Panasonic's Attune system, it was clear the sound quality was far superior to our current systems," said Jackson. "We decided to move forward with a pilot test in two different stores to make a decision between Panasonic and another vendor. After thorough testing, we ultimately selected Attune because of its exceptional sound clarity, user-friendly base station, universal speakers and microphones and durable headset design." Desert de Oro Foods estimates around a $4,000 saving in repair costs over a 10 year system life when compared to the other major brands on the market.
Cost savings and quality communication
Desert de Oro Foods installed 10 Attune systems – with four all-in-one (AIO) headsets per restaurant – to locations with the greatest need. The franchisee has been extremely pleased with the reliability and quality of Attune. The noise cancellation sound quality is superb, and Jackson's team has had zero complaints from stores using Attune. Jackson found the base station extremely easy to set up and adjust, which allowed him to get the Panasonic stores transitioned and up-and-running seamlessly.
An example of the improved sound quality is demonstrated when large trucks enter the drive-thru. Previously, the feedback was so bad that drive-thru operators had to ask truckers to turn off the engine in order to hear their order. With the Attune system, drive-thru team members have been surprised to find they cannot even tell it is a truck when the vehicles pull up, because the sound is so clear. Also, the sound quality during rain and windy days is significantly improved with the Attune system. For customers, the Attune system allows them to clearly hear the person waiting on them without kitchen noise in the background. As a result, customers feel attended to and more confident that their order is being made correctly.
The Attune AIO headsets have not required any repairs, which is a vast difference from the other vendors' headsets that are constantly with RF Technologies for repair. The reduction in repairs alone has already saved Desert de Oro Foods money and kept the total cost of ownership low.
With the success of Attune at the initial ten locations, Desert de Oro Foods has decided to standardize with Panasonic for all refreshes and new store builds. During the second quarter of 2013, Desert de Oro Foods will replace all analog drive-thru systems with Panasonic's Attune.
"We are very pleased with our decision to standardize on Panasonic's Attune in order to serve our drive-thru guests in a timely and smooth manner," said Jackson. "With the reliability and durability of Attune, Desert de Oro Foods has been able to save time and money, while providing an exceptional customer experience."

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