"I Feel The Need - The Need For Speed"
There are a couple of interesting, yet apparently diverging trends going on with the fast food giants. The first is the need for speed. Since much of their business comes from the drive-thru lanes, long lines and long waits have been putting customers off. In an attempt to speed things up both McDonald's and Jack In The Box have been reviewing their menus to try to simplify things.
In recent years, in an attempt to chase more business, Jack In The Box and to a lesser extent McDonald's have increased their menu size considerably and allowed far more customizations. A customer sitting in the drive-thru lane discussing how they want their custom burger made is slow and creates operational headaches. In addition, McDonalds telling customers they would not start cooking their quarter pounder until it was ordered created another bottleneck. So both companies, and other chains are looking to simplify and streamline their menus.
This comes at a time when major companies like Chipotle have invested in digital technology to speed up their in-store ordering and created pick-up booths where pre orders can be collected rapidly from the store.
This makes good sense since convenience is the most sought-after benefit for modern consumers. However, McDonald's also recently spent approximate $300 million to purchase a technology company called Dynamic Yield which creates personal shopping experiences.
McDonald’s said it will use this technology to create a drive-thru menu that can be tailored to things like the weather, current restaurant traffic and trending menu items. Once you’ve started ordering, the display can also recommend additional items based on what you’ve already chosen. It seems to us that this will slow down the drive-thru rather than speed it up. Still, McDonald's have sold billions and billions of burgers, so they probably know what they are doing!