McDonald's Pushes Drive-Thru Speed to the Limit with New Test in Miami

We recently pulled data for a Foodable Labs report (coming soon!) on Speed of Service in restaurants. There were a lot of interesting bits in there you’ll be surprised to see, including consumer sentiment toward mobile ordering. We have covered the topic of mobile ordering quite a bit, as it has become a formula most brands have struggled with. Most recently, Starbucks planted a seed that we might see mobile ordering and mobile payments come together at the coffee chain on a national scale within the next year or so, and McDonald’s recently announced a mobile ordering kiosk of sorts that’s currently being tested in a small market.

In the Miami market, McDonald’s is taking a different route to test speed. During weekday lunch hours (noon to 1 p.m.), drive-thru customers will receive a timer set for 60 seconds and are promised their orders will be ready by the time the buzzer goes off. If not, the guest will receive a coupon for a free meal on their next visit. But, while there are certainly perks to this test campaign (sensational buzz, for starters), could this actually hurt the brand’s sentiment in this market in relation to speed? Is there a benchmark where fast food becomes too fast, to the point where customers question the quality of the food? And how will this affect customer service? 

With incentive of free food, Time makes the point that perhaps diners will actually be hoping service is slower than a minute. With an eye on a prize, will this throw off consumer perception of speed by giving them something to focus on during order preparation? Read More