What is Line Busting?

Cam Summerson
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Line busting is exactly what the name implies: a way to reduce checkout times and get customers through lines at your store or restaurant more quickly. With the help of modern technology, many restaurants, retail stores, and other hospitality businesses use line busting techniques to keep lines short and customers happy.  

Line busting solutions are generally part of a broader POS (point of sale) system and can comprise several pieces of technology, including line busting POS tablets, self-service kiosks, and tabletop ordering systems.

How does line busting work?

A typical line busting strategy starts with meeting customers where they are. That could mean standing in line, a table in a restaurant, or even at home. The idea is to provide exceptional customer service at a fast pace that gets customers in and out as quickly as possible.

In a quick service restaurant (QSR), a line busting solution might mean employees on foot meeting customers in their cars in the drive thru. They take their order and process it on the spot using a line busting tablet. That gets the order to the kitchen staff instantly, and the employee moves on to the next car. This is much faster than waiting for each customer to get to the drive thru speaker to order, then moving up to the cashier window to pay.

While drive thru line busting is typically the first thing that comes to mind, it’s far from the only way to bust lines. Many restaurants also take advantage of self-ordering kiosks, which is another form of line busting since it allows customers to place their order and pay on the spot. Similarly, casual and fast casual restaurants can utilize tabletop ordering systems as a form of line busting.

Outside of the restaurant industry, you’ll also fine line busting tactics in place in retail stores, the hospitality industry, and even healthcare. Retail stores can leverage line busting with app-based services like scan and go or by allowing customers to order online and offering in-store or curbside pickup. Some stores even offer full automation for checkouts, like Amazon’s cashier-less Go stores, which allow customers to walk in, get what they need, and simply leave without any further interaction. Customers need only scan a QR code when they walk in the door, and that’s it.

The hospitality industry offers things like self-ticketing kiosks, self-check in terminals, in-room ordering, and the like. The healthcare industry has even started taking advantage of line busting with self check in kiosks, online checking, and even virtual healthcare. Anything that meets customers where they are and can speed processes is essentially line busting.

What are the benefits of line busting?

Cashier using a line busting tablet to help a customer
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

As you’ve probably already gathered, there are a lot of benefits to line busting across a variety of industries. Here are a few specifics.

Better throughput

Moving customers through the line faster and getting orders in their hands quicker means they’re in and out faster than before. That’s a win for you and your business, but also a win for most customers who just want to get on with their day.

Happier customers

You know what people who have to stand in line have in common? They’re unhappy. You know what people are who don’t have to stand in line? Happy…er. While line busting won’t provide infinite happiness to your customers, it will make them less unhappy at the very least.

Less store congestion

When customers move through your establishment without having to stand around and wait, that means there’s more room for more customers. And when the store is less congested with customers, other customers are happier. Or less unhappy.

Increased efficiency

When implemented correctly, line busting is a surefire way to make your entire team more productive and efficient. That means more time to focus on other things.

What are the downsides of line busting?

While the benefits of line busting are apparent, there are a couple of downsides worth mentioning.

Technical challenges

Technology can be fickle, so adding more technology to your business opens the door for more technical problems. Proper implementation is key here — well, that and a good partner to help manage your line devices from end to end. The right system goes a long way in alleviating these issues.

Upfront costs

If you’re moving from a single POS or check in desk to multiple tablets and kiosks, the costs can add up pretty quickly. The good news is that you can always scale slowly — but the better news is that a proper line busting solution is a great way to increase revenue. Almost like it pays for itself.

Looking for a partner to help scale your business? Look at Esper.

If growing your business by expanding your technological footprint is what you’re after, we’re down. Whether you need an easy way to manage a few POS systems or you want to bring multiple kiosks, tablets, and digital signage devices into the fold, we can help. Try us out today — no charge or commitment. Bam.

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Cam Summerson
Cam Summerson

Cam is Esper's Director of Content and brings over 10 years of technology journalism experience to Esper, including nearly half-a-decade as Editor in Chief of a technology publication. He currently oversees the ideation, execution, and distribution plans for numerous types of content from blog posts to ebooks and beyond.

Cam Summerson
Learn about Esper mobile device management software for Android and iOS
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