McDonald's Knows You’re Sick of Screw-Ups at Drive-Thru Windows

By Publications Checkout
McDonald's Knows You’re Sick of Screw-Ups at Drive-Thru Windows

When you're cruising the drive-thru, what matters more, how quickly you get your Big Mac or whether they remembered to hold the pickles?

McDonald’s is betting on the latter. In its latest comeback maneuver, the world’s largestrestaurant chain is switching up the outdoor ordering process to make it more personal, and hopefully more accurate. The new method - it’s called “ask, ask, tell” in McDonald’s speak - provides three opportunities to check that what the customer requested is what the customers gets.

That's crucial, because about 70 per cent of sales are made to people who don’t leave their vehicles. To make the experience more pleasant, the company has also asked restaurants to turn off prerecorded drive-thru greetings so that real-time workers say hello to customers instead. And then there’s this: Employees should no longer fold over the tops of paper bags but will leave them open so contents can be inspected.

“They’ve got to get it right in the drive-thru because it touches so much of their business,” said Peter Saleh, an analyst at BTIG Research. “Things are moving in the right direction.”


Accuracy had become an issue, particularly after the menu grew unwieldy over the past five years with the addition of a slew of new offerings, such as honey mustard and chipotle barbecue snack wraps, and the introduction of limited-time specials. So over the summer, the chain removed more than half of 130 offerings from outdoor menu boards, highlighting just bestsellers. “Simplifying the drive- thru operation underpins everything else we’re doing,” Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook said on a conference call in October.

Since becoming CEO in March, amid the company’s worst sales slump in more than a decade, Easterbrook has made waves, turning breakfast into an all-day thing, demanding toastier hamburger buns and experimenting with kale. He’s spearheaded initiatives to streamline kitchens, speed up service and improve order- precision. And his efforts got a boost last month when McDonald’s announced a gain in US sales after seven consecutive quarters of declines. Now the 48-year-old, who previously announced plans to cut costs and return more cash to shareholders, expects to reduce overhead expenses by $500 million a year.

News by Bloomberg, edited by Hospitality Ireland