Rant: Why does McDonalds’ drive thru have two lanes for ordering food?

Several months ago here in Michigan, a few McDonalds started having two drive thru lanes for ordering food. After ordering your food, both lanes will merge into one lane and then people will drive up to pay for their food and then pick up their food. Not every McDonalds here has this, as there are some with still only one drive thru lane.

Perhaps some of you in other parts of the United States and the world have noticed that some of your local McDonalds have these two lanes for ordering food as well. If I get the chance to take a picture of these two lanes at one of my local McDonalds, then I will edit this blog and insert that picture into this post.

Now onto my rant: I personally can not comprehend why McDonalds started having these two lanes for ordering food. Did they think this would make getting the food to their customers go faster?

Well, things would go faster if these two lanes went to two separate areas and did not merge back into one lane. But as I stated above, these two lanes do merge back into one lane and then you drive up to pay and then pick up your food. So it doesn’t matter which of the two lanes you order your food from, you will still end up in the same destination(s) to pay to your food and then pick up your food.

Having these two lanes for ordering food also serves to confuse the employee working at McDonalds as there were several occasions (but not every time) where I would drive up to the window to pay for my food and have the guy/girl employee mix my order up with the person who ordered food in the other lane. I would have to correct that guy/girl employee and tell him/her exactly what my order was.

And then you get a situation similar to what I had a few days ago. I drove to the McDonalds drive thru and this one had two lanes for ordering food. One of the lanes had a car in it and the other lane was empty. I could have entered the empty lane but I had respect for the person in the car that was already there so I drove up behind that car to wait my turn. The other lane was empty. Perhaps I should have drove into that empty lane instead of pulling up behind that car, but like I stated, I respected the fact that the car was already here before me, so I drove up behind it.

After the car in front of me drove forward, I drove up to where my order could be taken. No one took my order yet and after about 15-20 seconds another car drove up here. I would have liked for that car to pull up behind me but that car drove into the other lane that was empty. Fair enough.

Immediately a lady employee jumped on the microphone and took the order of the person in that newly arrived car, and then that car drove up ahead to pay. I had been waiting for a few minutes now and yet some other car just drives here and gets their order taken right away? I don’t know if the McDonalds employees did this deliberately or whether they could truly not tell which one of us got here first.

Naturally, I was pissed. After that car had driven up ahead of me, I got my order taken, and then I drove up and my car was now behind the car that got here a few minutes after I did. Remember these two lanes merged into one lane. This driver of this car gets here a few minutes after I did, and yet he/she gets his/her order taken before me and also gets to pay for and pick up his/her food before me.

Sitting there in my car, I wanted to get out of my car and have a few choice words with the driver in front of me, but I stayed in my car and said nothing. Later on, after looking at things objectively, I really can’t blame that driver, since he/she did what he/she was (I guess) suppose to do.

I blame the employees that at McDonalds who took that driver’s order first. And I also blame the person who came up with this “bright idea” for McDonalds to have these two lanes for ordering food. Who’s “bright idea” was it anyways?

Now some of you might be saying that maybe I should have pulled into that empty lane to order my food when I had the chance but I would’t be in this situation if there was just only one lane for everything, like it was before.

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7 Responses to Rant: Why does McDonalds’ drive thru have two lanes for ordering food?

  1. I’d have to check with you here. Which is not something I usually do! I enjoy reading a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!

  2. Your experience is ridiculous and it just goes to show one of the silly things about double drive-thrus. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like fighting people in traffic, either, but McDonald’s brought the fight into their own drive-thru! I mean, when it’s busy, people might not let you merge into the single line again in order to actually pick up your food, or they might be genuinely confused. I think the only reason they made these is so that people can’t leave as easily when the car line is long. Customers order sooner but wait just as long, and, might get pretty annoyed in the process.

  3. jdawg182 says:

    Update 8/28/2013: Thanks to everyone for reading! My hope was that my blog post would be taken by McDonalds as customer feedback and constructive criticism that would hopefully lead to better service.
    I wrote this blog post on January 11, 2012, and now, more than a year later, I have to say that (at least in my area) the McDonalds employees working the drive thru lanes have gotten a lot better. They still occasionally mix up my order but that doesn’t really bother me. The situation that I describe in my blog post almost never happens anymore.

  4. Smilediva says:

    We have several here in Memphis, TN; it’s so frustrating. Having a merging lane was a dumb idea.

  5. Tina says:

    I know that you posted this a while ago but as McDonalds’ employee myself I would like to explain to you that TWO people are taking the orders. A lot of the time what happens is that the person at the first window who has to take orders and money at the same time may have to answer a customer that is at their window, so as a result they may not take your order immediately. If you see a car drive ahead of you it is because another employee who only takes orders from her designated lane, took that order. I agree the merging lanes doesn’t make it any faster but if your is not taken on time remember there are two different people assigned to each lane who are usually multitasking with a number of other things while taking your order 🙂

    • Northern-Pyro says:

      I want to correct you, at very busy restaraunts (with enough people) One person takes cash and a seperate person takes orders, so you have three people (four if you count the runner) working the drive through. 2 taking orders, one taking cash. The second person taking orders is, at least in my experience, a manager watching the front, then you have one person taking orders at the back window, and a second at the back doing cash.

  6. James says:

    McDonald can cram twice the cars in line ordering food, thus preventing spill-over into the street. It may also serve as a placebo, making you feel like your getting your crappy food sooner, even though you really will wait the same time. All food is coming out one window, so wtf mcD?????

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