Special Report | October 2017 | By Sam Oches

McDonald's Drive Thru Success Tips

The fast food giant is leveraging the latest digital technology to enhance its drive-thru performance.
McDonald’s / Lynn Cromer
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Vitals>>

Speed of Service: 239.03 seconds

Order Accuracy: 93.9%

What are your tips for improving speed of service at McDonald’s?

McDonald’s is known for speed and convenience, which is why our customers keep coming back to us. We continue to build multiple-order-point drive thrus to improve speed and capacity and enable more orders. Our drive thrus are only as fast as we are able to prepare and serve our great food and drinks, so being able to take more than one order at a time gets customers’ orders started more quickly. 

Speed is also greatly influenced by accuracy, so leveraging the latest digital technology for enhanced order taking is another way to impact speed of service. Digital headsets, menuboards, and preview boards are all important pieces to ensuring accuracy and improving the drive-thru experience.

Providing our customers with new ways to order, pay for, and pick up their food—through our mobile-order-and-pay, and the new curbside pick-up—will also help us enhance speed of service.

What are your tips for improving order accuracy at McDonald’s?

Communication is key in getting the order right, and we are leveraging the latest digital technology to ensure order accuracy in our restaurants. From training to technology, McDonald’s and its owner-operators are committed to providing best-in-class training for crew, digital headsets, menuboards, and preview boards to help ensure clear communication to enhance order accuracy and the drive-thru experience.

We also recognize that mobile ordering and pay through our global mobile app—which is rolling out across our U.S. restaurants this year—will play a critical role in improving accuracy, eliminating communication problems that may arise at the speaker post. The app also allows customers to save their orders as favorites, which also helps ensure an accurate order.

Besides speed and accuracy, what's the most critical factor to McDonald's drive-thru success?

Our customers expect accuracy, friendliness, and speed when they visit our drive thru. Customer feedback is critical to ensuring we are delivering a positive drive-thru experience.

What’s one innovation that you think is going to change the future of drive thru?

We are excited about the impact we anticipate mobile ordering and pay and curbside pick-up will have on our drive thrus as we bring these features to our U.S. restaurants this year. The order-taking process on average takes 17 seconds in our drive thrus for simple orders of two to three items. For larger orders with eight to 10 items, it can take 50–100 seconds. Mobile ordering and pay enables our customers to place those orders within 10–15 seconds, allowing our restaurants to serve more customers faster through our drive thru.

In addition, curbside pick-up provides customers with another place to pick up their order, thus shortening drive-thru lines. In mobile-ordering-and-pay pilots and early market roll-outs, we are finding customers value the new convenience of curbside pick-up, which will enable us to serve more guests at peak times.

—Jim Fox / VP of Global Operations