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Food & Drink

How McDonald's Will Serve Hot Food Even When You Order Ahead

How McDonald's Will Serve Hot Food Even When You Order Ahead

More restaurants are allowing customers to order ahead to reduce their wait time at the counter. The question has always been: How will they ensure the order won’t just sit in a paper bag getting cold?

The answer seems to be cooking the food only once the customer arrives at the restaurant. McDonald’s (MCD), which is testing a new app in 22 locations in the area around Columbus, Ga., according to Business Insider, provides a tutorial of how the app works.

The big time-saver is that customers don’t have to wait in line to order, although they’ll still be waiting among the rest of the herd for their food to be ready. The restaurants should be benefit: McDonald’s chief operating officer, Tim Fenton, noted at an event last year, ”restaurants with multiple ordering points outperform those restaurants that do not have them.”

Casual dining chain BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse (BJRI) is also rolling out an order-ahead function on its app, in which the food is fired up only when diners are seated. At Panera (PNRA), customers can order and pay ahead of time, set a time for pickup, and retrieve their order from a “rapid pickup” shelf when they get to the restaurant.

Wong is an associate editor for Bloomberg Businessweek. Follow her on Twitter @venessawwong.

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