Friday 20 Jul 2018 | 01:37 | SYDNEY
Friday 20 Jul 2018 | 01:37 | SYDNEY

'The golden age of drive-thru'


Sam Roggeveen


10 May 2011 11:00

One last thought on the theme of 'making things'. The previous post looked at the romance that surrounds manufacturing, even though the service sector makes up a much larger portion of economic activity than manufacturing in advanced economies like that of the US and Australia.

So amid all the gloom from those like our former Prime Minister who lament that post-industrial economies no longer 'make things', it is helpful to get an occasional reminder that innovation, productivity and growth can come in many forms; even the shape of a taco:

Drive-thru is the operational heart of the fast-food industry, as central to a brand like Taco Bell as the kitchen itself, maybe more so. According to the National Restaurant Assn., the fast-food industry will do $168 billion in sales for 2011, and about 70 percent of that will come in through drive-thru windows. The technology deployed at order stations and pick-up windows has evolved to meet that demand. Every step is measured, every movement calculated, every word scripted. Taco Bell, with more than 5,600 locations in the U.S., currently operates some of the fastest and most accurate drive-thru windows in the industry, at least according to QSR magazine's last survey, in 2009, though for years they lagged. The system is the result of a 15-year-plus focus on the window as the core of the business. Taco Bell's pride in moving from the bottom of the pack to near the top is also part of the reason it allowed a journalist, unsupervised by public relations staff, to work the line.

Read the rest of the fascinating piece here.

Photo by Flickr user ASurroca.