The U.S. ready-to-drink coffee market is projected to reach $8.6 billion by 2029, with a yearly growth rate of nearly 6 percent. It has become highly profitable and is expanding rapidly, attracting both new and established brands seeking a share of the market. McDonald’s received a lot of buzz in late 2023 and early 2024 as a result of the strategic launch of their new concept, CosMc’s, offering beverages and quick snacks tailored to Gen Z consumers and aimed at providing a seamless drive-thru experience.

So the question is, is it working? To answer, Intouch Insight conducted a Market Pulse Study comparing CosMc’s drive-thru performance to six leading coffee chains: Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Dutch Bros, Caribou Coffee, Dunkin’, and Peet’s Coffee in four states in the U.S. In early 2024, mystery shoppers were asked to visit the drive-thru and order a specialty coffee and a breakfast sandwich. The findings revealed both strengths and areas needing improvement for CosMc’s.

Positive Impacts of CosMc’s Drive-Thru Infrastructure

One of the most significant findings from our study is the positive impact of CosMc’s new infrastructure on food and speaker quality. Both beverages and food were served at the perfect temperature 100 percent of the time. This consistency in food quality highlights the efficiency of CosMc’s equipment and operational processes.


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The clarity and volume of the drive-thru speaker at CosMc’s were also impressive. Shoppers reported that the speaker was clear and understandable 100 percent of the time, and only 6 percent of shoppers had to repeat their order, which is significantly better than the 19 percent average observed at other leading chains. This high level of communication clarity is crucial in minimizing order errors and enhancing overall customer satisfaction.

Areas for Improvement: Order Accuracy and Customer Interaction

Despite these strengths, CosMc’s faced challenges in order accuracy and customer interaction. The study revealed that order accuracy at CosMc’s was 81 percent, compared to other chains’ 99 percent accuracy rate. This indicates a need for improved staff training and process optimization.

Images of the original Bolingbrook, Illinois, location. Photos by Adobe Stock

Additionally, customer service metrics at CosMc’s were below average. Friendliness was rated at 56 percent, and overall satisfaction was 81 percent, compared to 86 percent and 97 percent for other brands, respectively. These lower scores suggest that while the infrastructure supports operational efficiency, there is room for improvement in the quality of customer interactions.

Efficiency Metrics: Wait Times and Service Speed

Wait times at CosMc’s were another area of concern, but they can likely be attributed to the high volumes of vehicles in the drive-thru. The average wait time from entering the drive-thru line to reaching the speaker was 11 minutes and 13 seconds, significantly longer than the 1-minute and 46-second average for the other six brands. However, once the order was placed, the service time was relatively competitive, with an average of 4 minutes and 1 second per order, just 6 seconds slower than the industry benchmark.

Conclusion and Recommendations for Operators

These findings highlight the importance of balancing technological advancements with exceptional customer service. While CosMc’s excels in food quality and communication clarity, improving order accuracy and customer interactions will be key to enhancing the overall drive-thru experience.

Laura Livers is Chief Revenue Officer at Intouch Insight, a leading partner to some of the top quick-service restaurant chains. Laura is a passionate business leader focused on using innovative methodologies to help brands deliver exceptional customer experiences. She believes in the power of data and is committed to empowering her clients to bring the voice of the customer into the boardroom. You can contact Laura at

Drive Thru, Fast Food, Story, Technology, McDonald's