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Burger King To Reduce Menu To Speed-Up Drive Through Lines

The CEO did not reveal what would no longer be sold

Burger King aims to improve its performance in the United States, starting with faster drive-thru lines.

The COVID-19 pandemic spiked the number of drive-thrus and curbside pick-up orders placed over the last year. Consequently, the increased volume led to longer wait times in drive-thru lines. 

SeeLevel HX found that a customer spent nearly a minute longer in waiting than they did before the pandemic. The average total time spent waiting was 382 seconds — 25 seconds more than a year ago. 

The firm’s research, carried out by mystery shoppers, also found that order accuracy also declined in 2021. These metrics are standard for evaluating the fast-food industry’s performance. 

Jose Cil is the CEO of Restaurant Brands International, which owns Burger King. He acknowledged that the stores’ drive-thrus had slowed during the past nine to 12 months and added that increasing service speed would be an “easy win” to increase sales.

Speaking at Morgan Stanley’s Global Consumer and Retail conference on Nov. 30, Cil said “We got too slow, and we need to address that.”

“We’re working on eliminating SKUs, simplifying processes that have become a bit too complicated and doing a better job in terms of menu design to make it easier for customers at the drive-thru, in particular, to make decisions,” he said.

As part of this effort, several items will be taken off the Burger King menu, though Cil did not specify what would be deleted.

Burger King will also push its loyalty program and use of its mobile app and reduce its distribution of paper coupons. 

“Shares of Restaurant Brands were up less than 1% in morning trading,” notes CNBC. “The stock has fallen 8% this year, giving it a market value of $26 billion.”

Sales for the Miami-based burger chain have slowed and declined in the second and third quarters of this year, while its competitors have surged ahead. Same-store sales fell about 1.6% in a year and about 5% over the last two years.

Cil attributed the poor performance to the restaurant’s value offers. He said the $1 Your Way menu and its 2-for-$6 offer had underperformed compared to a year earlier. He also added that its marketing strategies had not been able to correct the slump.

“Clearly we’re navigating a transition in the U.S.,” Cil said in October, per Restaurant Business Online

Since the onset of the pandemic, Burger King closed 250 U.S. locations.

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