When you’re cruising the drive-through, what matters more: how quickly you get your Big Mac or whether they remembered to hold the pickles?
McDonald’s is betting on the latter. In its latest comeback maneuver, the world’s largest restaurant chain is switching up the outdoor ordering process to make it more personal, and hopefully more accurate.
The new method — it’s called “ask, ask, tell” in McDonald’s-speak — provides three opportunities to check that what the customer requested is what the customers gets.
That’s crucial because about 70 percent of sales are made to people who don’t leave their vehicles. To make the experience more pleasant, the company has also asked restaurants to turn off recorded drive-through greetings so real-time workers say hello to customers instead. And then there’s this: Employees should no longer fold over the tops of paper bags but will leave them open so contents can be inspected.
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“They’ve got to get it right in the drive-through because it touches so much of their business,” said Peter Saleh, an analyst at BTIG Research.
Accuracy had become an issue, particularly after the menu grew unwieldy over the past five years with the addition of a slew of new offerings.
So over the summer, the chain removed more than half of 130 offerings from outdoor menu boards, highlighting just best-sellers.
At McDonald’s, “ask, ask, tell” is optional for franchisees, who own about 90 percent of the chain’s 14,350 U.S. stores. Here’s how it works: After a customer orders, an employee repeats the full order and asks if it’s correct, and the customer is asked again at the window where he or she pays. The “tell” comes when the food changes hands — the employee reminds the customer what’s in the bag.