Thursday, February 27, 2020

McDonald's, Fast Food Drive-Thru Times, and Strategic Simplicity®

For fast food restaurants, speeding up and improving drive-thru service is a strategic imperative, and one area where they can "weaponize" simplicity for a competitive advantage.

Drive-thru performance is governed by two areas within Strategic Simplicity®: decision simplicity, and user simplicity.

Decision simplicity is critical because, if the menus have too many items, choices that overlap, or sets of items that are hard to compare/contrast, then customers will become confused.  Confused customers buy less and slow down the decision-making process.

Another factor is user simplicity. Drive-thru times will be slower if customers have trouble reading the menu, communicating with order takers, or have trouble customizing their orders.

According to a recent article in Crain's Chicago Business, McDonald's has improved it's drive-thru times–lowering them while they are up on average for the industry.   McDonald's invested in speech recognition systems to improve order-taking, and software that can change menus dynamically.  This last change means that trending items, and items that are popular depending on the weather (i.e. milkshakes on a hot summer day or hot coffee on a winter day), will appear prominently—to increase the chances that a user scanning the menu will find what they want quickly and easily.

© 2020 Praveen Puri