McDonald’s announced today that it would revamp its famed drive-through as a way to bring back customers who have left the fast food chain. In order to improve order accuracy, the company is implementing an “ask, ask, tell” policy.
That means that the customer will be greeted by a human employee, who will then ask for her order, confirm it, ask one more time at the pay window, and finally tell her what she’s receiving at the food window. The employees will also no longer fold the bags, saving the customer precious seconds in checking his or her food.
The drive-through makes up approximately 70 percent of McDonald’s’s sales, and Peter Saleh, an analyst at BTIG Research, even said, “They’ve got to get it right in the drive-through because it touches so much of their business. Things are moving in the right direction.” Saleh is right. It does make sense. And that’s just plain wrong. This change is an abomination of progress.
The messed-up McDonald’s order is an institution. You’ve got a few options when the Golden Arches wrongs you: Complain and get your correct order, deal with it and eat it, throw it out, or give it to your drunk pal in the car because you really shouldn’t be doing drive-through solo anyway.
In the era of social media, it’s a lot easier to just post a photo of your messed-up order on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook:
Getting McDonald’s for dinner isn’t something you tweet about. But not getting McDonald’s when you wanted it is funny!
Sometimes McDonald’s will even give you a gift in exchange for its little gaffe!
The messed-up McDonald’s order is part of the natural life cycle. Personally, one thing keeping me from making it a daily weekly dinner spot is that I don’t want to deal with the lovable frustration of having to reorder. If the employees’ possibly purposeful and conspiratorial fuck-ups can keep me even a little bit healthier, then maybe it’s for the best. If McDonald’s ordering were flawless — matching the food, of course — why would I not eat there regularly?
McDonald’s franchise owners, such as Terry Smith, who owns three restaurants in New Jersey, are afraid that the “ask, ask, tell” policy (which is optional for franchisees) will slow down the business. “You’re probably going to add a couple seconds, which I don’t think will be huge as long as you’re creating a friendly experience — and getting the order right. Customers are getting the items that they want,” said Smith.
We’ll posit this to Smith: Being too fast and too accurate is something McDonald’s will have to worry about. I’ve waited in drive-thru lines for a very long time. Once you’re there, you’re there. But if McDonald’s gets it right too often, there might be too many customers for the staff to handle. It’ll get borderline anarchic. Balance the delicate self-sustaining ecosystem and intentionally blow a few orders. It’s only right.