Call centers could handle McDonald's drive-thru orders

Friday, March 11th 2005, 1:21 pm
By: News On 6

OAK BROOK, Ill. (AP) _ McDonald's Corp., the world's largest restaurant chain, is testing the use of remote call centers to handle drive-thru orders in an effort to improve service.

Company officials said the idea, being tested at a small number of restaurants in the Pacific Northwest, is aimed at reducing the number of mistakes at the drive-thru window.

``If you're in L.A. and you hear a person ... with a North Dakota accent taking your order, you'll know what we're up to,'' McDonald's Chief Executive Officer Jim Skinner said during a presentation to analysts Thursday in New York.

The strategy would help process orders faster and allow McDonald's employees to focus on delivering better customer service, the company said.

``You have a professional order taker with strong communications skills whose job is to do nothing but take down orders,'' said Matthew Paull, the chief financial officer.

Paull said a ``heavy percentage'' of complaints the company receives are from drive-thru customers who got the wrong order.

``Even if 95 percent of the time it is right, those 5 percent are very upset with us,'' he said.

McDonald's spokeswoman Anna Rozenich said Friday it was too early to say whether the outsourcing strategy would be implemented systemwide.