News

Using Tablets for Drive-Thru Line Busting and Efficiency

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, quick service restaurants (QSRs) have been managing a whole series of challenges—keeping drive-thru lines moving quickly and efficiently is just one of them.

Many QSRs have seen big increases in drive-thru traffic as patrons have looked for quick and easy alternatives to traditional dining out. And others are facing challenges with how to keep the drive-thru moving while adding new lanes for curbside pickups or managing pickups in the parking lot.

These are among the reasons why many of our QSR customers are turning to tablet mobile computers to improve drive-thru efficiency and avoid long lines that can drive customers away. Leveraging mobile technologies is a strategy that began long before the pandemic, especially among leaders in the restaurant industry.

For example, a few years ago, a major fastfood chain picked up on a drive-thru strategy that had been used by an innovative competitor for years. To help reduce wait times and long lines in the drive-thru, select restaurants in this chain started sending staff members out to the drive-thru line, equipped with tablets to take orders at car windows.

Specifically, the company chose to deploy Zebra’s ET5x series enterprise-grade tablets to give workers access to their point of sale and ordering system in the drive-thru lane. This allowed them to get orders into their system faster and give customers instant gratification in being able to place their order and know that it was already in process.

Ultimately, these locations started mobilizing its ordering and point of sale whenever needed, and they were able to get more customers through the drive thru quicker. A competitor had used a similar approach for years, especially during busy times when lines could easily end up snaking through the restaurant parking lot and onto nearby streets.

At the end of the day, if you can avoid those long lines, it eliminates a highly visible deterrent to additional business because many customers will see those lines and simply keep on driving to the next competitor.

Another advantage of using tablets for mobile drive-thru ordering and other mobile customer service functions is that a tablet has more screen space to present menu items and options as well as your point-of-sale screens. Workers find this really helpful in making the ordering and payment process fast and easy to execute, with fewer switches between screens.

With Zebra’s ET5x series tablets, you can also speed up the whole process thanks to its easy-to-use and intuitive Android operating system, plus 8-core processing power, memory, and Wi-Fi speed that an enterprise device can deliver.

You also get unmatched battery power, which addresses one of the biggest issues with trying to use consumer-grade devices such as an Apple iPad or a standard Android tablet.

Most consumer iOS and Android devices are designed for more casual use, not for full-shift workflows that involve order entry, running business apps, and scanning loyalty cards and coupon codes. These activities rapidly drain the batteries of consumer-grade devices, and things get even worse when you also need to run higher screen brightness outdoors.

The end result is that many devices can only last a couple of hours before needing to be recharged, but Zebra uses advanced, long-life batteries that provide full-shift power. There’s even a hot-swappable battery option so you can simply change out a battery and get even more power without powering down your device or interrupting your workflows.

The ET5x series also extends battery cycle times with 2×2 multi-user, multiple input, multiple output (MU-MIMO) technology, which allows access points to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously and shifts wireless processing from mobile devices to access points.

All of these capabilities add up to a high-powered workhorse device that’s a great choice for mobilizing your workforce and point of sale, processing orders and payments, and keeping your drive-thru moving at an ideal pace for your customers. You can also use the ET5x series in other areas of your operations, including curbside pickups, inventory management, and counter service.

If you’re looking for ways to reduce lines and wait times in your drive-thru as well as boost efficiency throughout your restaurant, a tablet should definitely be on your list of solutions to consider.

To learn more about using tablets for your QSR workflows and the Zebra ET5x series, contact our team at Macro Integration Solutions to find out how to integrate tablets with your point of sale to start delivering faster, more mobile and convenient service. Call us at 336-931-0674 or visit our contact page to get started.

Optimizing QSR Curbside Pickups and Deliveries with the Right Technologies

Curbside pickups and home deliveries were a smaller portion of business for most quick service restaurant (QSR) before the COVID-19 pandemic, but things have changed dramatically over the past year.

Even just a few months into the pandemic, more than half of Americans had used one or more restaurant delivery options, and nearly half had ordered curbside service. Since then, these trends have grown even more. Accordingly, many QSRs are now looking for ways to optimize their curbside pickups and deliveries, so they can serve more customers more efficiently and with shorter wait times.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some ways QSRs are achieving these efficiencies by using the right point-of-sale software with mobile computers and tablets from Zebra.

By having the right point-of-sale software in place and being able to mobilize it with Zebra computing and data capture technologies, QSRs are able to serve customers through a number of different mobile channels and models. Moreover, they can receive, process, and manage orders more efficiently by using these solutions to automate and streamline processes and workflows to help their staff provide faster and more convenient service.

For example, many QSRs now use Zebra’s TC70 touch computer or ET5X tablet with a Zebra ZQ110 mobile printer to mobilize their point of sale and manage curbside orders, payments, and customer service.

This allows them to take customer orders through their mobile app or website, then easily deliver those orders and accept payments in the parking lot or at a designated walk-up window or canopied outdoor station. With Zebra mobile technologies, QSRs can also take orders and accept payments directly from the parking lot or drive-thru, providing a complete customer service experience on the spot—right down to a printed receipt.

Some QSRs are also using these solutions to build new service models, such as creating dedicated curbside pickup lanes in their drive-thru. For maximum impact, some QSRs are using these flexible solutions as multi-purpose devices for temporary drive-thru line busting and regular back-room inventory management in addition to curbside pickups.

Many QSRs have also been upgrading their point of sale and investing in Zebra mobile technologies to help them create their own direct delivery services to minimize fees from third-party delivery providers. By being able to deliver orders on their own and keep costs lower for themselves and their customers, QSRs can gain a distinct advantage over competitors while building more loyalty to their brand and their own apps and websites for ordering.

Ultimately, no matter how you choose to provide curbside pickup or delivery service, the key to maximizing speed, efficiency, and customer service quality is to have the right systems and solutions in place.

That’s one of the reasons why we partner with leading QSR technology providers to help restaurants design and deploy solutions that fit their unique processes, service models, and customer needs.

Depending on the use case, your point of sale will definitely need to be mobile-friendly and will need to support what you want to do today as well as how things might change and evolve tomorrow. Ideally, you want to have it all through one solution as well, from order processing and payments to scheduling and inventory management.

But once you have the right point of sale in place, the next key is to have the flexibility to access and use your software from virtually anywhere. And that’s why we strongly recommend Zebra’s complete portfolio of mobile QSR computing, data capture, and printing technologies.

Zebra’s portfolio of best-in-class hardware integrates easily with point-of-sale and other back-office systems and delivers the enterprise-grade durability, processing power, memory, and battery life to enable more automated and streamlined curbside pickups and deliveries for hours on end.

Zebra has flexible and adaptable solutions for virtually any workflow, and they’re powered by a highly secure enterprise version of the Android operating system. This makes your point-of-sale experience as well as order, inventory, and restaurant management as easy as tapping a button on a screen. It’s also great for onboarding new workers, minimizing training, and error-proofing your restaurant processes with automated cues, scanning, and guided workflows.

To learn more about Zebra hardware and our top recommended solutions to help you optimize your curbside pickup and delivery, contact us at Macro Integration Services. We’ll show you how some of our QSR customers are optimizing their operations, explore ideas and possibilities for your restaurants, and help you find the right technologies to make it all happen.

Call us at 336-931-0674 or visit our contact page to start a conversation.

Macro Promotes Several from Within the Ranks

Macro Integration Services announces the internal promotion of several key figures to Vice President and Director in the organization

2020 by all accounts was a record year for Macro Integration Services. Through a worldwide pandemic that has negatively impacted so many individuals and businesses, Macro has managed to not only survive – but thrive. A growing business demands an evolving leadership team and an organizational structure to support it.

Macro President Bart Collins remarked, “We have been so fortunate as a business because we have some of the best employees in the industry. And thanks to them, Macro has achieved beyond our wildest expectations. It was a record year for revenue and customer growth. Through sustained cost-cutting we have been able to improve our gross margins and overall profitability. We are pleased to be in a position to promote from within in recognition of their contribution to our shared success.”

Effective February 1, 2021 Macro announced the following promotions:

To a Vice President in the organization
• Bruce Atkinson – VP of Administration
• Jamie Hinkle – VP of Operations
• Wayne Lutzka – VP of Major Account Services
• Guy Penegar – VP of Sales
• Mike Senn – VP of Services and Logistics

To a Director in the organization
• Wesley Atkins – Director of Special Projects
• Glenn Davis – Director of Services
• Jay Ellington – Director of Warehouse Operations
• Christian Reagan – Director of Staging
• Jeff Sisk – Director of Field Deployment
• Daryn Trogdon – Director of Ahold Delhaize Services
• Larry Tucker – Director of Project Management Office

Terry Morgan, CEO of Macro said, “As you can see, a larger and successful company represents opportunity for professionals to grow at Macro, personally and professionally. Our expectation with this team is that they will continue to grow their overall leadership to achieve our customers’ success, our associates’ success, and our owners’ success.”

About Macro Integration Services
Macro Integration Services provides technology deployment, staging and maintenance services for exceptional companies. Our deep experience and network of technology partnerships bring cost-effective results tailored to each customer. We are a trusted advisor to our customers and a knowledgeable advocate for our partners. Macro is committed to the long-term success of our customers and associates. At Macro, we are proud to boast that “our people make the difference”. For more information about Macro visit www.macrointegrations.com.

Macro Integration Services Announces the Purchase of Retail System Services

Macro Integration Services of Greensboro, NC announces the purchase of Retail System Services of Winston-Salem, NC combining the operations of both organizations. Effective Monday, February 1, 2021 Macro has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Retail System Services (RSS). RSS is a, A+ Certified Repair Center with over 20 years’ experience in point-of-sale repair and refurbishment. Founder and Owner Keith Comer will remain with the new combined organization as a consultant to smooth the transition.

Bart Collins, President of Macro, said of the deal, “We are elated that one of our best partners has now become part of the Macro family. We have enjoyed a very successful customer relationship for many years. Combining their strength in repair and refurbishment with Macro’s 20+ years of installation was an easy decision to make”.

“The combination of the two companies provide a complete solution”, said Keith Comer of RSS. “We look forward to continuing to service our customers while adding all Macro has to offer.”

About Macro Integration Services
Macro Integration Services provides technology deployment, staging and maintenance services for exceptional companies. Our deep experience and network of technology partnerships bring cost-effective results tailored to each customer. We are a trusted advisor to our customers and a knowledgeable advocate for our partners. Macro is committed to the long-term success of our customers and associates. At Macro, we are proud to boast that “our people make the difference”. For more information about Macro visit www.macrointegrations.com.

Self-service Extending Beyond the Pumps at C-Stores

Americans have long sought convenience leading to the boom in convenience stores. Recognizing this driver, C-stores have expanded their offerings beyond fuel, drinks, and candy to meals, produce, pastries, and finer coffees. Customers are voting with their wallets that they desire more from a convenience stop, but operators started recognizing a wall to their growth.

While pay-at-the-pump offers customers self-checkout outside the store, inside the stores traditional checkout counters are facing challenges:

     • Rising labor costs
     • Difficulty finding trusted labor to service point-of-sale registers
     • Customers impatient to wait in line to pay, abandon in-store, high margin purchases

Progressive C-store operators have begun a migration to the well-proven technology of self-checkout to address these challenges. Self-checkout has proven itself in the grocery industry and within their own industry at the pumps. Now, by integrating self-checkout with the pumps and their prepared food ordering kiosks, C-stores can service customers efficiently and seamlessly with one device. Customers, who not only want convenience, but also independence, love the choice. Some customers also like to minimize human interactions during the pandemic, so self-checkout satisfies that priority as well.

NCR, among other solution providers, have designed lower profile self-checkout solutions to fit very well into the limited space of a convenience store. They are also among the first to integrate to most credit networks including many major oil companies. This allows for true self-checkout integration.

Macro Integration Services has installed thousands of lanes of self-checkout over the years in the grocery space. Now, complimented by a partnership with NCR, Macro can provide and deploy a complete offering to C-stores. This includes POS self-checkout hardware and software interfaced to the pumps, and most credit networks, including several major-oil branded. Macro also provides surveillance, digital signage, food service peripherals (KVS, drive-thru, etc.) and more. Let’s have a conversation to discuss your store automation needs.