GroundBreakers of Brick-and-Mortar: Reinventing the Drive-Thru at McDonald’s

In this blog series, we are highlighting brands with brick-and-mortar locations that are implementing new and innovative ways to increase foot traffic to their stores. This month, we’re diving into McDonald’s ongoing investment to keep customers “lovin’” the drive-thru experience.

What are they doing?

McDonald’s is investing millions of dollars to improve the customer experience at their drive-thrus. They are particularly committed to shortening wait times, and testing out innovative technologies such as voice-based ordering and personalization.

How will they do it?

McDonald’s locations servicing 70 or more cars during peak hours will now have a second lane, internally called “side-by-side drive-thrus”. Not only will wait times improve but so will the customer experience. McDonald’s recently acquired artificial-intelligence startup Dynamic Yield whose technology will allow drive-thru menus to show food suggestions based on time of day, weather and current restaurant traffic. The other company they invested in, Apprente, is a voice technology startup that is “expected to allow for faster, simpler and more accurate order taking.”

What’s next?

Can McDonald’s get their drive-thru wait times below 5 minutes? It seems like they are headed in the right direction to get there. Using location data, brands can track the average amount of time customers spend in their establishments and either work towards increasing or decreasing that number. While McDonald’s is ahead of the pack in terms of dwell time, they will always be competing with themselves and trying to improve.