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Drive-thru window sees major change at Monroeville fast-food restaurant

| Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For Trib Total Media
Courtney Deems uses an iPad to take a lunch order from Lindsay Lott of Plum. Chick-fil-A in Monroeville is one of three in the Pittsburgh area that now uses employees to take customers' orders outside with iPads.
Lillian DeDomenic | For the times Express The drive thru line wraps around the parking lot, but this popular fast food chain is doing something unique to make it more efficient for its customers. Chick Fil A in Monroeville is one of three in the Pittsburgh Area that now send their order takers outside with iPads to take orders from customers in the drive thru line.

Face-to-face order taking at the Chick-fil-A drive-thru in Monroeville is projected to increase orders per hour, during what already is a notoriously hectic lunch.

The traditional menu board and speaker system have been closed in lieu of restaurant employees who take orders at car windows.

Orders are entered in an iPad and routed to staff inside the restaurant.

Food and payment are exchanged at one window.

The new system was projected to increase sales from 95 to 115 cars per hour, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monroeville Chick-fil-A Training Director Korbin Diggs said.

“It's friendlier for the customers, and it's faster,” Diggs said.

Customer Paula Stilwell said last week she favors the new system.

“I think it goes a little faster, because you've got more than just one person taking orders,” Stilwell said.

The IPOS ordering system was introduced at the Miracle Mile location last week, as construction of a Chipotle continued across the street.

Developers of Chipotle hadn't yet announced an opening date, as of Monday, while Monroeville officials said they look forward to the competition.

“It puts (business owners) on the cutting edge and maintains good competition,” Mayor Greg Erosenko said. “As for Chick-fil-A and the other restaurants, I think they have their customer base, which they're not going to lose.”

The new system at Chick-fil-A so far has been piloted at locations in Monroeville, Cranberry and Robinson.

The number of orders has increased in Monroeville since last week, despite a few drivers who needed a little convincing, said Chick-fil-A employee Courtney Deems, 18, of Plum.

“A few of the customers are surprised we're out here, because it's something very different,” Deems said.

“But when we tell them our goals of speeding up customer service, they usually have a good reaction.”

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-871-2369 or klawson@tribweb.com.

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