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Burger King to remove menu items to speed up drive-thru lanes

A drive-thru area of ​​a Burger King restaurant in Peoria, Illinois.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Burger King’s US turnaround plan will include cut menu items as it seeks to speed up its drive-thru times.

The hamburger chain drive-thru times have increased over the past nine to 12 months, according to Jose Cil, CEO of the burger chain’s parent company, Restaurant Brands International.

Burger King isn’t the only fast food chain to see drive-thru times slowing this year. SeeLevel HX’s annual drive-thru survey found that customers were spending almost half a minute more in the drive-thru lane compared to a year ago. The pandemic has resulted in an increase in driving controls, even as consumers are vaccinated against Covid-19. Shifting consumer behavior has prompted restaurants to look for ways to speed up service times as the industry faces a labor shortage.

“We are working to eliminate SKUs, simplify processes that have gotten a little too complicated, and do a better job in terms of menu design to make it easier for drive-thru customers in particular to make decisions.” , said Cil. at Morgan Stanley’s Global Consumer and Retail conference on Tuesday.

He didn’t say which menu items might disappear, but said the goal was to simplify operations.

“Given the increase in volume in the drive-thru, this is a very easy win in terms of additional volume in our business,” said Cil. “We have become too slow and we need to fix it.”

Earlier this year, Cil expressed disappointment with Burger King’s performance in the United States, committing to accelerate growth in its home market and perform better. In the third quarter, the chain’s comparable store sales in the United States declined 1.6%, but their competitors McDonald’s and Wendy’s both posted positive national same-store sales growth in their later periods of business. reference.

In addition to lightening its menu, Burger King is also moving away from paper coupons in favor of its loyalty program and its mobile application and has overhauled its management team. It appointed its former COO, Tom Curtis, to head its Americas region in August, and its North American marketing director, Ellie Doty, recently left the chain.

Cil also touched on Restaurant Brands’ recent billion dollar purchase of the Firehouse Subs sandwich chain. Unlike its past acquisitions, the deal was about growth and not cost synergies, according to Cil. The current chain leadership will remain after the deal closes, but Restaurant Brands is looking to bring its expertise in domestic and international development and technology to help accelerate sales.

Shares of restaurant brands rose less than 1% in morning trading. The stock has fallen 8% this year, giving it a market value of $ 26 billion.

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