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Is McDonald’s new simplified drive-thru menu the way of the future?

Check out the latest edition of Food Drink & Franchise! McDonalds announced another new tweak to the business model this week, the latest in many...

Frazer Jones
|May 12|magazine6 min read

Check out the latest edition of Food Drink & Franchise!


McDonald’s announced another new tweak to the business model this week, the latest in many since the ascension of new CEO Steve Easterbrook. This latest step: a simplified drive-thru menu displaying only the chain’s top-selling items to consumers on the go. McDonald’s is hoping that this change will help in shortening drive-thru lines and improving customer service overall. If it proves to be a success, this business model could perhaps end up being influential to other fast food chains with similarly lengthy menus.

According to Business Insider, McDonald’s had been bogged down in the past by its ever growing and expanding menu, which was creating significant issues and some of the longest drive-thru wait times that the company had ever seen. While the chain is already playing around with the idea of simplifying its menu overall, it is also making drive-thru orders even easier by limiting consumer options to the most popular items that make up 80 percent of all orders anyway:

"It's actually making the menu easier for the customer to order and making the menu easier for our crew and managers to execute," [Pete Benson, McDonald’s Chief Administrative Officer] said. "You could significantly reduce the clutter and make it easier when you pull into that drive-through to order something and get on with it […] So that has benefits of improving the throughput and improving the order accuracy because the crew is making fewer products and making them more frequently."

Consumers who really know what they want would still be able to order items for sale that aren’t listed on the drive-thru menu, but in the meantime the simplified menu could speed up operations considerably for more indecisive consumers. Since swift service and easy choices make for more satisfied customers overall, this all sounds like a smart move in theory. If it makes a solid transition into practice and is shown to boost sales—or at least boost goodwill from consumers—McDonald’s competitors with lengthier menus might want to consider making similar moves. 



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