Faster Fast Foods

Faster Fast Foods

September 8, 2019

Drive-thrus have gotten slower over the years.

In 2018, the average speed of service increased to 234 seconds.  This is compared to 2003, when the average time of service was 190 seconds.  With the popularity of drive-thrus increasing today, even as some cities ban new drive-thrus, shortening speed of service is more vital than ever.

In order to shorten the time in drive-thrus, fast food restaurants are applying a variety of techniques.  Of course, one approach is better trained workers.  Another is to revert back to simpler menus.  Many fast food restaurants have added to their menu over the years to appeal to a broader market and to compete against new competitors.  As the menu expands, the complexity of operations increases and service time generally increases.

For comparison, early McDonald’s menus consisted of hamburger, cheeseburger, fries, shakes, and several drink options–substantially smaller than today’s menu.  McDonald’s has simplified its menu recently (see this OM in the News post for details).  In addition to these classical approaches, technologies of various types are being applied to reduce speed of service.

Video Spotlight: McDonalds investing in tech to improve service at drive-thru

This Continue reading