This image was lost some time after publication.

Living in a city without a car, I tend to forget the importance of the drive-thru. Like, who knew that 70 percent of sales at Burger King comes from the drive-thru window? Not I. So I guess it's no surprise that companies are trying to speed up the service by finding higher-tech ways to get your food to you faster. One of which seems to be getting rid of actual words and counting on you knowing what each picture means (I hope you're stylistically intimate with the difference between the Big Mac and the Quarter Pounder). However, another new trick is using call centers to take orders. A firm called TechKnow, Inc. has actually come out with a digital menu, which will suggest "missing side orders" that you may have "forgotten" and smaller chains are using confirmation screens, which will actually show you what you ordered so there will be no mistakes with that strawberry shake. Supposedly, this has helped boost accuracy by more than 11 percentage points in the past four years at McDonald's. Other systems include technology that helps cooks ensure that precooked food remains fresh by keeping track of how long it's been since it was prepared, and a computer system called Hyperactive Bob, which tells managers how much food they need to prepare by counting vehicles in the line and factoring in demand for current promotions and popular staple items. Wow. Lastly, the easy stuff. Checkers is catching up to larger chains like Wendy's by installing debit and credit payment systems as well as touch-screen computers for order-takers.

'I'd like fries with that, and step on it! [CNN]

Advertisement