- Restaurant Brands International will modernize the drive-thru at over 10,000 Burger King and Tim Hortons locations, with Popeyes beginning its rollout later in the year, according to a press release. The company will install over 40,000 digital screens with predictive selling technology that integrate with restaurant loyalty programs and offer remote, contactless payment. The installation is expected to be completed by mid-2022.
- As of September the digital drive-thru menus have been installed at about 800 Tim Hortons locations in the U.S. and Canada and over 1,500 Burger Kings in the U.S. A typical drive-thru uses four digital screens while a double drive-thru uses seven screens.
- This initiative is part of the company’s strategy to personalize interactions with guests, Josh Kobza, RBI’s chief operating officer, said during an earnings call with investors on Tuesday.
RBI’s drive-thru modernization comes with several features that will make it more competitive against the likes of McDonald’s, which installed Dynamic Yield digital screens last year after acquiring the tech company. The addition of remote, contactless payment through its partnership with Verifone will allow guests to order and pay simultaneously, which would speed up drive-thru times. The first prototype is currently installed in a Tim Hortons in Canada with 15 more locations testing it by January 2021.
The screens also have the ability to integrate with loyalty programs, which is most relevant to its Tims Rewards program. This functionality, which allows guests to scan the loyalty app, is live and being tested in 30 Tim Hortons in Canada. While this is only available to Tim Hortons, it does open the possibility to create loyalty programs for its other two brands to be used at the drive-thru.
"These updated menu boards offer a variety of advantages versus the legacy paper based menu boards," Kobza said. "Among them is the ability to adjust displays in real time to account for anything from weather patterns to the basket of items a guest has started to build while ordering."
The company began rolling out predictive selling technology during the third quarter and is already seeing increases to check sizes and overall sales at both Tim Hortons and Burger King, Kobza said. These advancements will not only help speed up drive-thru times, but could also help improve same-store sales, which declined 7% at Burger King and 12.5% at Tim Hortons during Q3 2020, according to an earnings release.
RBI expects Burger King to complete upgrades across 75% of its system by the end of next year with the remaining 25% to be completed in 2022, CEO José Cil said during Tuesday's earnings call. Tim Hortons upgrades are expected to be completed by the end of 2021, he said.
This modernization also follows Burger King’s rollout of two restaurant designs that will have dedicated mobile order and curbside pickup areas, drive-in and walkup orders, enhanced drive-thrus and exterior dining space. These new restaurants will be built in Miami, Latin America and the Caribbean in 2021.