A&W Canada Cuts Drive Through Times by 1/3
Result: $50M additional revenue over three years.
(Based on attending Pal’s BEI Achieving World Class Results and LEAN for Service & Healthcare classes)
Background: A&W is Canada’s original hamburger quick service restaurant chain, and today is one of it’s fastest growing. The first A&W drive-in restaurant in Canada opened in 1956. The combination of great tasting burgers, onion rings and frosted mugs of famous A&W Root Beer served by friendly carhops was an instant hit. Since then, A&W has continued to grow and evolve with the times, and is one of Canada’s fastest growing chains expanding into over 700 locations in Canada from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland.  Of these, 450 have drive thru facilities.

Neil Farmer, Director of Drive Through Operations, A & W Food Services of Canada Inc, contacted Pal’s Business Excellence Institute based on hearing about Pal’s Sudden Service world-class practices.  By sharing stories about Pal’s proven results, Neil was able to convince a total of 12 people from A&W Canada corporate offices and franchise owners/mangers to attend BEI’s classes on “Achieving World-Class Results” and “LEAN for Service & Healthcare” in Kingsport, TN.  The classes included a tour of a Pal’s store to see the practices first hand and a Question and Answer session by Pal’s CEO Thom Crosby.  There was such excitement by what was being learned in the class, that A & W Food Services of Canada Inc. top executives made a special visit to see Pal’s Sudden Service first hand.   Based on what was learned from the BEI classes, a plan was developed to improve the Drive Through Times.   A&W had been trying to improve their Drive Through Times for years, but had little success with sustained improvement prior to attending the BEI classes.

By the end of 2008, the average of 80 stores with the new procedures vs system-wide average of stores who have not implemented the Drive Through Improvements:

  • Average Drive Through Time has gone from 105 seconds to 70 seconds, a 33% improvement
  • Drive-Through Dollar Sales has increased 17% in stores that have implemented improvements vs 6% in stores that have not
  • Required around $10,000 per store in capital to implement; with a Return on Investment payback of less than a year (great rate of return)
  • Drive through improvement has achieved great results and been sustained in 100% of the stores where implemented.

Quote from Neil Farmer, Director of Drive Through Operations:
“The ideas we picked up at Pal’s BEI were invaluable in helping us improve our drive through operations.  We learned an improvement process and ideas that enabled us to get assured business results and get excellent acceptance among franchise owners/managers.  We will have implemented the Drive Through improvements in over 250 stores by the end of 2009 and we have a 100% success rate of both getting and sustaining the improvement.  I get frequent calls from franchise owners asking how soon can we get to their stores to implement the improvement.  That had never happened before.  We’re on pace to realize an additional $50M annually from our system drive thru sales.  This equates to additional growth of about $80K annually per restaurant.”