Wendy's CEO Todd Penegor said the company had more dining rooms closed during Q3 than Q2. "That does put pressure on our digital business."
Drive-thrus became more important than ever in 2020 as dining rooms closed, and now chains are betting they'll continue to grow.
Some workers say they can't keep up normal service standards with multiple orders coming in each minute.
Double lanes and designated delivery and pickup parking spots kept things moving, despite a busy night.
The company's plan is to install cameras to monitor fast-food workers in the kitchen and alert them to mistakes while making orders.
Some Popeyes locations have closed drive-thrus and cut hours, which is eating into late-night profits.
A focus on digital orders and drive-thrus drawn from the fast-food world is a major change from Chipotle's fast-casual origins.
Taco Bell, Wendy's, and other chains are promoting breakfast again as workers return to offices and start buying breakfast again.
Waits have gotten consistently longer each year, but sales are also up. The future of fast food is slower service and longer lines.
Restaurant operators are employing strategies to minimize losses with few workers, including closing dining rooms, cutting hours, and downsizing menus.
Virtual restaurants cut down on labor and real estate costs, which is even more appealing as labor costs rise.
Jaggers, which is like "if Chick-fil-A and Five Guys got married and had a kid," will soon have locations in four states total.
Putting another restaurant a few miles away from a busy location doesn't reduce demand, CEO Dan Cathy said.
Chick-fil-A's average wait time topped nine minutes in QSR's annual drive-thru study, longer than any of the other chains in the study.
McDonald's, Dunkin', Wendy's, Starbucks, and Chick-fil-A have all had to close dining rooms or adjust hours because they didn't have enough workers.
In 2020, most fast-food chains cut down menus to only best-selling items to make restaurants more efficient and reduce drive-thru waits.
The workers replaced by the voice assistant robot are now working in Arby's drive-thru kitchen, franchisee Amir Siddiqi told AP.