McDonald’s plan to make its drive-thrus faster

To support consumers, of course, but also in hopes of getting them to turn up more frequently and spend more while they visit, McDonald’s aims to increase drive-thru speeds.

During an investor briefing, the chain announced its plans for a better drive-thru experience. In the US, express lines for individuals placing digital orders ahead of time are being tested, as well as dedicated pickup spots and automated ordering.

For restaurant chains during the pandemic, when people choose to avoid dining rooms and choose contactless payment, the drive-thru has become even more relevant. It could also help overcome a pre-pandemic dilemma for McDonald’s: losing clients to competitors.

The business was losing customers to fast casual chains and higher-end burger joints prior to the crisis. It was also facing more competition during breakfast, the fast food companies’ most popular meal of the day.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the amount of transactions at its US restaurants open at least 13 months slipped 1.9 percent in 2019.

As Morningstar analyst RJ Hottovy noted, the promise of a fast, seamless experience, plus new products such as the McPlant plant-based burger and crispy chicken sandwich, which the company unveiled on Monday, could help draw customers back.

McDonald’s has made changes to the drive-thrus already. It has accelerated the drive-thru line by around 30 seconds over the past few years , due in part to a simplified menu.

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