Our local newspaper ran a story yesterday about one of our area McDonald’s outsourcing the drive-through window. Now that takes a minute to digest, doesn’t it? On the other hand, I guess it was inevitable. Let’s see how it works.
Apparently, you pull up to your local drive-through window and place your order as usual. Seconds later, you pick up your order at the next window.
So how’s that different than the way we’ve always done it? Well, you place your order as always, but the person taking your order is now located in another city in another state. In the case of our local McDonald’s here in Michigan, we’re talking over high-speed data lines to a call center professional with “very strong communication skills” in North Dakota … over 1,100 miles away, 16 hours if you’re driving. This same process allows our order taker to communicate with those preparing the food at the next window here at our local restaurant … all within seconds. We, as customers, have no idea that our order has traveled four or five states away and bounced back before we can even start driving to the pick-up window.
For you, the customer, there are several advantages:
- Note the fact that you had your order in seconds rather than 10 minutes.
- You’ll also experience fewer mistakes in your order.
- Your hot food will be hotter and your cold food colder.
McDonald’s benefits from this new strategy as well. In the fast-food business, time is money. In fact, shaving a mere five seconds off the processing time of an order is significant. Test restaurants have reported the ability to process an additional 30 cars per hour, substantially reducing labor costs. They also discovered that when employees have to take orders over the drive-through microphone and deliver food at the same time, they start making a lot of mistakes. This new system has reduced mistakes considerably, resulting in fewer complaints.
Thus far, this new unorthodox procedure has produced very positive results and more than paid for the additional technology costs. If this trend continues, this outsourcing strategy could be implemented system-wide. If this occurs, you can certainly expect call centers to sprout up all over the country as many fast-food competitors follow suit.