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Drive-Thru Technology: From Digital Menus to Artificial Intelligence

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According to Merriam-Webster, Artificial intelligence (AI) is a branch of computer science that simulates intelligent behavior in computers, allowing machines to perform complex tasks previously reserved for humans

There are 660,755 locations of quick service restaurants (QSRs) & full-service restaurants (FSRs) in the US, and total sales grew from $825 billion in 2018 to $863 billion by the end of 2019. Off-premise sales, which include delivery, takeout, drive-thru, and catering, represented 38% of total sales in 2018 and grew by 5.6% in 2019. QSRs make up 346,105 of this total and had 2018 sales of $256 billion, 70% of which came from drive-thru alone. By the end of 2019, QSRs grew by 4.9%, which is slower than the 5.1% growth the previous year but still faster than the 3.4% growth of FSRs for the same time period.

As off-premise ordering increases, drive-thru restaurants will need to find ways to maintain food quality, improve order accuracy and increase speed of service. Quick service and fast casual chains that do not have a robust technology deployment strategy run the risk of damaging their reputations. As more QSR operators balance dine-in orders with the multitude of ways consumers can now make a take-out order, they risk overl