Chick-fil-A turns to iPads and FaceTime to help speed up drive-thrus

Chick-fil-A is exploring a variety of ways to speed up its drive-thru lines, including turning to reliable Apple products and services. A new report from Insider today highlights Chick-fil-A’s new initiatives, ranging from ghost kitchens to iPads and FaceTime.

Chick-fil-A is facing criticism for its drive-thru lines, which have grown even longer amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As today’s report explains, the company faced four lawsuits in 2020 over its drive-thru lines, centered on complaints from adjacent businesses who say the lines block their buildings and make it challenging for customers to find parking.

One way Chick-fil-A is using iPads is simply to take orders. Drive-thru workers in many locations are equipped with iPads to take orders from customers in line before they hit the traditional speaker. The report explains:

The classic drive-thru involves customers pulling up to a speaker, ordering, then pulling up to a second window to collect food.

Not so at Chick-fil-A. The chain stands out from the drive-thru crowd in large part thanks to its workers with iPads who take orders from cars even before they reach the window. At Chick-fil-A, ordering and delivery are “zones,” not set locations.

Chick-fil-A, however, is now looking to take its use of iPads to the next level. The company is piloting a new initiative where employees work from home and take orders via FaceTime. In a statement to Insider, Chick-fil-A explained that this is being used by some locations amid bad weather and the pandemic to protect employees:

Chick-fil-A confirmed to Insider that this is essentially a tech-savvy twist on having workers walk out to take orders. The tablet allows customers to see workers face-to-face, without having to wait for them to reach the actual building.

“Some restaurants are using this during extreme weather as another measure to protect Team Members and/or for additional social distancing during COVID,” Chick-fil-A said in a statement. “It allows the Team Member to stay inside, while still offering guests the friendly customer experience of a smiling Team Member.”

A viral TikTok from earlier this month offered a look at how this works:


Too home girl just took my order from home #chickfila #fyp #xyzbca

♬ original sound – mars🍾

The full report at Insider highlights other initiatives Chick-fil-A is deploying to speed up its drive-thru lines, including new uniforms, weather pods, and heated canopies and shelters.

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Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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