It’s been a rough few quarters for the McDonald’s Corporation. Monthly sales figures declined late last year while earnings are reported to be flat for this month (all while competitors like Wendy’s have been making gains). “McDonald’s blames ads for weak sales, puts shops in hot seat,” ran the headline at Crain’s. Meanwhile, the fast-food giant’s top U.S. executive acknowledged slow service and blames it on the expanded menu.
“Between March and July alone, McDonald’s added Premium McWraps, Egg White Delight McMuffins, blueberry pomegranate smoothies and new Quarter Pounders to its menu,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “The fast pace of the new-product introductions ‘created challenges for the restaurants,’ making their operations more complex in ways that slowed service, [Jeff Stratton, president of McDonald’s USA] said.”
The solution? A third drive-thru window for special orders (such as when I used to order a Filet-o-Fish sandwich withou the tartar sauce), rather than slowing the line or being forced to park.
Per the Chicago Tribune:
Fueling up at McDonald’s drive-thrus takes longer than at Taco Bell and Wendy’s, according to an October study by QSR Magazine. It takes about 189 seconds at a McDonald’s store, compared with 158 seconds at Taco Bell and 134 seconds at Wendy’s. McDonald’s drive-thru service is slower than last year, the study shows.
On occasion, when I notice the drive-thru line is long at my local McDonald’s, I’ve simply gone on foot to place my order while remembering the car I would’ve been behind. Often times, I’ll emerge with my order just as that car is paying and pulling away. So at least they’ve figured out how to be equally fast or slow.
Photo from a McDonald’s billboard in Vienna, Austria.