Digital parking meter-like technology will soon be rolled out to Wendy's drive-thrus in what the burger business is calling a New Zealand first.
The American-originated burger business run by the Lendich family says its new payment terminals will streamline operations and remove contact between customers and drive thru staff, and make the need for payment terminals to be hung out the window redundant.
Wendy's NZ has partnered with payments technology firm Windcave to develop the device, which sits just underneath drive-thru windows, for the quick-service restaurant sectors.
Danielle Lendich, chief executive of Wendy's NZ, said the technology was very similar to parking meter terminals that Auckland Council had installed.
"Now, rather than us having to hand a handset with a cord of some description attached to it out the window, hand it to the customer and wait for it to be handed back to us, we now have a digital device built into the side of the drive-thru window," Lendich told the Herald.
"It means that people can pull up just like they do to a parking meter now and put their card on that device. The big difference with ours is that we have a digital display whereas parking meters don't have that."
Lendich said the 12cm payment device displayed the cost of the order and had a shelf built into it which the order could be placed on.
Wendy's began investigating the technology around 18 months ago before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, as a means to increase the speed of its service.
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It has been testing the technology at its Dominion Rd store since the beginning of November. Outside of parking metres, Lendich said Wendy's was the only organisation to be actively using the technology.
"It's encouraging to see people naturally take to it, the feedback has been amazing and we have witnessed an increase in our speed of service, but the big thing is that if we do have another alert level change we can operate more safely than we did before."
All 21 of Wendy's drive-thru locations will have a device by the end of February.
Lendich said the technology was not expensive to implement, and the company would pay a monthly rental fee for the devices. "I would expect that once [other businesses] start seeing the technology and the ability it has then they will follow suit."
Wendy's 23 stores are company owned and operated through a master franchise agreement with held by Lendich family.