ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Burger King’s drive-thru times have creeped up over the past nine to 12 months, so it’s cutting back on what it offers on the drive-thru menu to speed up car turnover, reports CNBC.
“We’re working on eliminating SKUs, simplifying processes that have become a bit too complicated and doing a better job in terms of menu design to make it easier for customers at the drive-thru, in particular, to make decisions,” said Burger King CEO Jose Cil at Morgan Stanley’s Global Consumer and Retail conference.
Cil didn’t elaborate on which menu items were going away, but the point of the cut is to simplify drive-thru operations.
“Given the volume increases in drive-thru, it’s a really easy win in terms of driving additional volume in our business,” Cil said. “We got too slow, and we need to address that.”
According to SeeLevel HX’s annual drive-thru survey, customers spent nearly half a minute longer in the drive-thru lane compared with a year ago.
Burger King’s same-store sales declined by 1.6% in the third quarter, while direct competitors McDonald’s and Wendy’s saw positive same-store sales growth.
In October, Wendy’s announced it is using data analytics and artificial intelligence to enhance its customers’ restaurant experience, particularly in the drive-thru. The fast-food chain is partnering with Alphabet Inc.’s Google Cloud to increase the speed of its drive-thru orders and home deliveries, anticipate return customers’ favorite meals and keep burgers from burning on the grill.
C-stores are experimenting with incorporating drive-thrus in their stores, with COVID-19 increasing the need. Wawa opened its first stand-alone drive-thru in Morrisville, Pennsylvania—the company’s second store to test drive-thru. At 1,800 square feet, the store has a single-lane drive-thru with capacity for about 10 cars and offers Wawa’s breakfast, lunch and dinner menus from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Learn more about c-store drive-thru service in the NACS Magazine articles “Pass Through” and “Strategy-Based Design.”