McDonald’s New Drive-Thru Concept Could Seriously Cut Wait Times

You could soon pick up your Big Mac with ease.

<p>Courtesy of McDonald's of North Texas</p>

Courtesy of McDonald's of North Texas

Just as cars changed the way restaurants were built, inspiring the advent of the drive-thru, apps are now changing how the drive-thru operates, too. And McDonald's is taking notice. 

Drive-thrus were constructed to allow customers to place and receive orders with ease. But now that customers can order remotely through apps, restaurants are realizing a pick-up window may be all that's necessary. In June, Taco Bell revealed its restaurant of the future, which features multiple pick-up-only lanes, and this week, McDonald's followed suit, unveiling a similar concept at its new test location just outside of Fort Worth, Texas.

Among several new features at this small-format, take-away-focused location is the "Order Ahead Lane," described by McDonald's as "a brand new way to pick up your order." 

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Separate from the traditional drive-thru, this new lane is specifically for customers who placed their orders in advance through the McDonald's app. Their order is delivered to cars via a conveyor, reducing human interaction even further.

"The technology in this restaurant not only allows us to serve our customers in new, innovative ways, it gives our restaurant team the ability to concentrate more on order speed and accuracy, which makes the experience more enjoyable for everyone," Keith Vanecek, the franchisee operating this new location, stated. 

<p>Courtesy of McDonald&amp;#39;s of North Texas</p>

Courtesy of McDonald's of North Texas

Customers willing to exit their vehicles can find an even faster way to grab their food via a dedicated pick-up shelf inside. Though if you don't feel like using the app, all is not lost, as the location also has digital ordering kiosks. And things should be easier for delivery drivers because the test restaurant has dedicated delivery driver parking spaces and a separate delivery pick-up room.

Tweaks have been made behind the scenes, as well. McDonald's says this test location features a new kitchen format with streamlined operations. And thanks to its "enhanced technology," the Order Ahead Lane even identifies when customers are near the restaurant to know when it's time to start preparing their order.

"At McDonald's, we've been setting the standard for drive-thrus for more than 45 years," Max Carmona, senior director of global design and restaurant development at McDonald's, added. "As our customers' needs continue to change, we are committed to finding new ways to serve them faster and easier than ever before."