McDonald’s is testing a customisable burger system that would make it more similar to a Five Guys or Shake Shack.
And that includes a seven-minute average wait time, reports The Economist.
That’s a fairly long wait, considering that the chain’s average total drive-thru wait is currently around three minutes, according to a study by QSR Magazine.
The Economist visited a new McDonald’s outlet near its Oak Brook, Illinois, headquarters. They observed customers building their own burgers by choosing a bun, toppings, cheese, and more from a touchscreen.
Customers then waited at their tables until their orders were ready.
McDonald’s is planning to roll out the new system in 2,000 restaurants by the end of this year, according to The Economist.
The brand hopes the strategy, which is currently being used in four restaurants in San Diego, California, could help attract a younger crowd and revive lagging sales.
Many analysts believe that the customisation will soon become widespread at McDonald’s and allow it to better compete with fast-casual competitors like Chipotle.
Chipotle is largely successful because the ingredients for its burritos, bowls, tacos, and salads are entirely selected by customers, who increasingly crave tailored options and high-quality ingredients.
But some are questioning whether the strategy will be effective.
While Wall Street wants McDonald’s to be more like Shake Shack, shareholders “should let McDonald’s be McDonald’s and be careful about whether Shake Shack is a burger bubble,” writes Steven Davidoff Solomon at The New York Times.
Solomon argues that the “premium burger fetish” is a trend, not something to invest in.
Instead, McDonald’s should focus on offering low-cost food that is served almost instantly.
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