Taco Bell and the golden age of drive-thru

July 09, 2011

An interesting article on the evolution of operational efficiencies at fast-food restaurants.

Every Taco Bell, McDonald's (MCD), Wendy's (WEN), and Burger King is a little factory, with a manager who oversees three dozen workers, devises schedules and shifts, keeps track of inventory and the supply chain, supervises an assembly line churning out a quality-controlled, high-volume product[…]

It's as if the great advances of human civilization, in everything from animal husbandry to mathematics to architecture to manufacturing to information technology, have all crescendoed with the Crunchwrap Supreme, delivered via the pick-up window. […]

The operations are now so fast and so efficient that there may not be many more seconds to be wrung out of the current system. A human being can only order so fast, drive so fast, and hand over his currency or credit card so fast.

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