McDonald’s Unveils Test Restaurant Featuring Drive-Thru Food Conveyor Belt

Customers can use the McDonald's app to place an order before they arrive, and then pick up their meal from a food and beverage conveyor belt.
By RTN Staff - 12.6.2022

McDonald’s is reportedly testing a new restaurant concept for customers who are on the go. The first location of this new type of fast-food restaurant opened in Fort Worth, Texas on December 1st. This location features an Order Ahead Lane, which is different from a typical drive-thru. Customers can use the McDonald’s app to place an order before they arrive, and then pick up their meal from a food and beverage conveyor belt.

“At McDonald’s, we’ve been setting the standard for drive-thrus for more than 45 years,” said Max Carmona, senior director of Global Design & Restaurant Development at McDonald’s. “As our customers’ needs continue to change, we are committed to finding new ways to serve them faster and easier than ever before.”

This McDonald’s restaurant in Fort Worth is designed to cater to customers who want to eat at home or on the go. It is smaller than a traditional McDonald’s and features a delivery pick-up room for couriers to quickly retrieve orders. Customers can also place to-go orders at kiosks and pick up their food from a shelf. The restaurant also offers curbside pickup and dedicated parking spots for delivery drivers.

The Order Ahead Lane uses technology that allows the restaurant to prepare food for customers when they are near the location. This allows for faster service and more convenient options for customers.

“The technology in this restaurant not only allows us to serve our customers in new, innovative ways, it gives our restaurant team the ability to concentrate more on order speed and accuracy, which makes the experience more enjoyable for everyone,” said Keith Vanecek, the franchisee operating the test restaurant.

As of now, the restaurant is the only one of its kind as McDonald’s “tests and learns” about this new concept. “Testing this new restaurant concept is part of McDonald’s ‘Accelerating the Arches’ growth strategy and we first shared our plans for this concept at our Investor Update in 2020. We’re always innovating to improve our customer experience, no matter how they want to order or receive their food. I am immensely proud to have this new restaurant concept serving our customers in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex,” Vanecek said.

McDonald’s, with more than 36,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries, has a long history of technology innovation. In 2019, for example, the company purchased Dynamic Yield, becoming one of the first brands to integrate decision technology into its restaurants. Under McDonald’s ownership, Dynamic Yield doubled its revenue and expanded its customer base across verticals. Dynamic Yield’s technology was deployed to McDonald’s drive-thrus and ordering kiosks in several markets around the world before being acquired by Mastercard last year.

It is unclear how successful this new concept will be, but it is an interesting development in the fast-food industry. By allowing customers to order ahead on their app and pick up their food from a conveyor belt, McDonald’s is trying to make the dining experience more convenient and efficient for those who are in a hurry. It remains to be seen whether this new concept will be adopted by other McDonald’s locations or whether it will be expanded to other fast-food chains. For now, the first location in Fort Worth, Texas is the only one to offer this new experience.