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IDriveThru Leverages Toll-Tag Technology at Drive-Through Restaurants

The system uses the E-ZPass toll tag already installed in a customer's car to provide personalized service and electronic payment.
By Samuel Shaw
Aug 22, 2014

Eli Grinvald's family is very particular about breakfast. After one bungled breakfast order at a drive-through window four years ago, Grinvald's daughter—who was then eight years old—pointed to their E-ZPass toll tag and made an observation: Why doesn’t this restaurant know what we want the moment we arrive? And why not pay for breakfast with the toll tag?

Grinvald founded iDriveThru to improve customers' experiences at drive-through windows. The four-year-old company uses a driver's RFID-based E-ZPass to streamline the ordering and payment process. Grinvald claims that the system, now in use at five Wendy's locations on New York City's Staten Island, has helped to increase consumer spending. The solution incentivizes repeat business by rewarding customer loyalty.

Eli Grinvald, iDriveThru's founder, with an E-ZPass toll tag
Leveraging Existing Technology
When a customer arrives at the restaurant, an RFID reader (supplied by iDriveThru) installed on the drive-through speaker reads that vehicle's E-ZPass toll tag. A video screen attached to the restaurant's menu board then displays a personalized welcome message that can be configured to present a promotion to that customer. The patron places an order as usual, and the restaurant processes payment via a payment card linked to his or her unique toll tag. The purchaser then receives an e-mail receipt for the transaction. Grinvald notes that the system does not draw on a customer's E-ZPass toll account. Instead, it associates the toll tag with a payment card configured online or via the iDriveThru mobile app.

Rewarding Customers
IDriveThru proposes to offer a competitive advantage to franchisees by rewarding customer loyalty. For every dollar spent using the iDriveThru system at a participating merchant, a customer accrues 10 points. Upon reaching 500 points from that particular merchant, he or she receives $5 in credit. Customers can view their rewards balance on the video screen at the drive-through, or on the associated mobile app. The company is presently exploring the possibility of integrating vendors' proprietary rewards cards with the iDriveThru solution, thereby obviating the need for customers to search for them.

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