McDonald’s Adding A Third Window To Drive-Thru To Push Orders Through Faster

McDonald’s reputation as the slow, lumbering fast food dinosaur who’s nowhere near the lead in the drive-thru race is apparently bothering it enough to redesign its ordering system. Instead of the usual two windows — one for ordering, one for pick-up — there will now be a third window to send cars to if their orders are clogging up the works.

It even has a fancy name: The Fast Forward Drive-Thru. It’ll start showing up in new and rebuilt Mickey D’s next year reports Bloomberg.

“It enables customers to pull forward to receive orders at a third window when their order is not yet ready,” a spokeswoman said. It “will enable us to better serve more customers quickly.”

Getting people through the line quickly is a major thing for McDonald’s as 70% of its sales are generated by drive-thru orders. The more people you can scoot through that line, the more money there is to be made.

It seems it could work, as one franchisee added a third window to one of his seven locations and says he saw service speed up. He’s planning on adding a third window to an additional store next year.

“The slowest function is delivering the food,” he said. With the third window, “we’ve been able to more quickly take care of our guests.”

As always, the more complicated the order is, the longer time it will take to get you your food. So if you want it really fast, keep it simple. Or just be patient.

Third Window a Charm as McDonald’s Patrons Twitter Grief [Bloomberg]

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  1. Seli says:

    I thought the two windows were for payment and pickup, not ordering. You order at the speaker first.

  2. mongo says:

    My local McD’s had a drive through that went so fast you’d be embarrassed that you couldn’t get your window open fast enough. You’d usually get through from ordering to pickup in less than a minute.

    They remodeled and added a second complete drive through lane.

    Yeah. I guess it pulls in a ton of cash, especially at breakfast.

  3. Naskarrkid says:

    I went to a Chick-Fil-A once, that had two pick up windows that were side by side. I don’t know why that isn’t popular. Just build a booth in front of the second speaker, and use the conveyer belt, thing they had to get the food over.

    • Seli says:

      How does that work, do you pull into one line and then you’re stuck there? Or do you wait for an available window and then drive up to in and then they have to scramble to send your food over? Cause if you have to commit to a lane, there could still be issues with one person holding up everyone else behind them.

  4. BikerGeek79 says:

    I have big problems with that linked survey.
    Perhaps McDonalds lost in the speed category because in order to get something edible you have to go off-menu? Even when I have to wait for no-onions burgers I get through the line at McDonalds way faster than any other chain.

  5. GnRJosh says:

    I don’t understand how this will be any better than the system they currently use. The McD’s by our house has two parking spaces next to the front door setup with signs designating that they are waiting for their order. These spaces take them away from the queue so that they don’t bung up the works and cars can still move freely. How would a 3rd window be more efficient? It would have to be located in the same area as the other 2 and, if more than 1 car needs to go to that window, suddenly you have a backup to the 2nd window (normal delivery window). So where is the advantage in that sort of scenario? All it takes is one car to order an abnormal amount of food, another to request some frozen coffee concoction that requires extra work, and then a 3rd car ordering all their burgers special order and now everyone is stuck waiting.