All drive-thru windows have a central dilemma: speed or accuracy. Since accuracy is largely contingent on time, the two are essentially mutually exclusive.
So which one should a fast food chain choose? McDonald’s has chosen accuracy, according to Bloomberg.
Since around 70% of all business done at McDonald’s franchises is at the drive-thru window, the company is trying to make the buying experience more personal and thus more accurate, making sure a there’s a person—not a automated robot voice—taking your order.
But McDonald’s new strategy isn’t just having a person take your order, but rather having a person confirm three times what they want so accuracy is ensured.
Overall, the chain has actually been pretty good about getting orders right—better than most other chains according to QSR’s annual fast food research. Wait times, however, aren’t shorter.
For now, with people at the helm, wait time and accuracy will likely remain mutually-exclusive in the fast food industry. But in today’s climate of tech solutions for problems like these, it’s not unlikely that a fast-food ordering revolution will speed things up without confusing a Big Mac with a Quarter Pounder. Plenty of companies like Starbucks are experimenting with phone and tablet-based ordering.