How McDonald’s is spending millions of dollars to regain its crown as drive-thru king

drive thru

McDonald’s headquarters and franchisees are investing millions of dollars to speed up drive-thru times after six years of increasingly long waits.
On Monday, McDonald’s announced a new program to encourage certain franchisees to upgrade their drive-thrus, according to internal documents obtained by Business Insider.
McDonald’s announced in March it would acquire Dynamic Yield in a $300 million deal and add new AI capabilities to drive-thrus.
The fast-food giant has been making behind-the-scenes tweaks to speed up drive-thru, like cutting menu items, adding new tech, and having workers compete with other locations on service times.
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McDonald’s drive-thru wait times keep stretching longer and longer. But, the fast-food giant is willing to invest millions of dollars to reverse the trend.

Earlier this week, QSR magazine released its annual Drive-Thru Performance Study. Across the industry, drive-thru times had increased by 20 seconds, with customers spending an average of 255 seconds from speaker to order window in 2019.

The average drive-thru time at McDonald’s was 284 seconds, or almost five minutes — an increase of almost 11 seconds over last year’s average time.

Read more: Chick-fil-A’s drive-thru service is among the slowest in a new survey — here’s how 10 major chains rank

The day before, McDonald’s had internally announced a new program aimed at preventing these drive-thru waits from getting any longer. In an internal memo dated September 30 and obtained by Business Insider, McDonald’s announced a new, optional program intended to encourage franchisees with modernized locations and single-lane drive-thrus to upgrade their drive-thrus.

“As we continue to look for opportunities to build our drive-thru business and capitalize on the success we’ve seen in drive-thru this year, we are introducing a new side-by-side drive-thru standalone program,” the memo reads.

The program essentially means that more locations will be encouraged to open a second lane, internally called side-by-side drive-thrus. In recent years, as McDonald’s has increasingly emphasized kiosk and mobile ordering sales, locations were required to have 90 cars coming through during peak hours to be eligible for a side-by-side drive-thru; the new program lowers that figure to 70 cars during peak hours.

McDonald’s previously announced a program to encourage franchisees to update their restaurants as part of the company’s “Bigger, Bolder Vision 2020” — or BBV 2020 — growth plan. While many franchisees pushed back against investments required by BBV 2020, such as restaurant redesigns, the National Owners Association said in January that drive-thrus were an aspect of the growth plan that “will actually produce a return on investment.”

The new drive-thru program’s commitment letter and implementation details have not been finalized. However, according to the memo, the new program will be funded similarly to BBV 2020 — franchisees who choose to participate will pay 10% of the costs upfront, then receive a five-year rent reduction equal to 40% of total project costs.

McDonald’s quest to fix drive-thru

McDonald’s drive-thru times have been getting longer every year for the last six years, according to QSR …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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