Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes will get an electronic facelift to deal with changing times.
Parent company Restaurant Brands International Inc. says it will upgrade its drive-thru shops at more than 10,000 Burger King and Tim Hortons in the U.S. and Canada by the end of 2021 - with Popeyes going ahead with the upgrade before the year ends. This includes installation of 40,000 screens.
Fast-food competitors Starbucks and McDonald's have digitized their busiest drive-thru locations. Modernization - which enables food chains to display the weather on digital menu monitors and offer new items on the fly - often gets positive feedback from Wall Street.
The screens provide contactless payment methods to speed up service at drive-thru locations. Americans have trooped to drive-thru outlets to get food quickly with limited human contact during the pandemic. The digital screens link to loyalty programs to show customer items based on rewards redemption history. They use a predictive-selling system that suggests products based on trending items.
According to chief executive officer Jose Cil, the company believes "it's time to modernize our drive-thru lanes throughout the U.S. and Canada," Reuters quoted Cil as saying.
Cil said customers chose drive-thru lanes for the company's "food and beverages throughout the COVID-19 pandemic - even in the face of mandated dining room closures around the world."
Burger King has more than 6,500 drive-thru locations in the U.S.
New technology integrated with the drive-thru expansion is expected to help sales growth and encourage franchise holders' willingness to invest, Bernstein analyst Sara Senatore said.
Shares of Restaurant Brands were expected to open Wednesday U.S. time at $53.25 - or up 0.3% - as market participants opted to concentrate on the company's third quarter profits. The stock was down 3.6% at $53.41 at Tuesday's close on the New York Stock Exchange.