Golden arch enthusiasts may have to wait longer to get fast food in their favorite McDonald's drive-thru lane. That's the bad news. The good news is their order should have a better shot at being correct.
McDonald's Corp. has made changes to its outdoor ordering process to make it more personal and accurate, even if it takes a bit longer to churn out a customer's very specific Big Mac order. The new method, called "ask, ask, tell" in company lingo, gives workers three chances to check if they got the customer's order correct and is part of a bigger push to improve the drive-through experience at McDonald's, Bloomberg reported Monday.
The move is a significant change considering about 7o percent of sales at the restaurant chain are made to customers who never exit their vehicles. In addition to the new ordering protocol, McDonald's has also asked restaurants to turn off pre-recorded greetings at drive-through lanes -- workers will instead say hello in an effort to make the experience more pleasant -- and employees have been instructed to no longer fold over the tops of paper bags so customers can quickly inspect their order.
"Ask, ask, tell," was first pushed in the summer, but is optional for franchised McDonald's, which make up about 90 percent of the corporation's total restaurants, Bloomberg reported. The method allows an employee to confirm the order is correct during the order, at the pay window and as the bag is handed through the window. Over the summer McDonald's also cut half of the options on their drive-through menu in order to make the process more simple. It's all a part of series of shifts at the company attempting to right the ship after a prolonged slump.
"Simplifying the drive-through operation, underpins everything else we have been doing," Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook said on a conference call with analysts and investors in October, via Yahoo.
Amid increased competition from "fast-casual" restaurants, Easterbrook took over during the company's worst sales slump in more than 10 years, but has since led changes to make kitchens more efficient and improve food options. McDonald's also rolled out all-day breakfast in the United States. Global sales were up a better-than-expected 4 percent in the third quarter, ending six consecutive quarters declining or flat results.
"The progress we have made in a short amount of time gives me confidence we're making the right moves to turn around our business and reposition McDonald's as a modern, progressive burger company," Easterbrook said on a conference call with analysts and investors at the time.
The most recent data on drive-through service showed that in 2013, McDonald's got about 88 percent of orders correct, according to a study by QSR magazine and Insula Research. That put the company ahead of Wendy's and Burger King but behind Taco Bell and Chick-fil-A.