Outsourcing the drive-thru


Hardees and McDonalds are experimenting with central "call centers" that take fast food drive-thru orders remotely that are then passed on to the local restaurant.   Hardees’ call center is in Anaheim, California and serves restaurants over 1500 miles away.  McDonalds is outsourcing the order takers to states like North Dakota where the minimum wage is lower. The Hardees executive I saw on the news this morning says he envisions a new wave of freelance order takers who work from home on their own schedule. 

However it gets implemented you can bet you won’t be able to understand them either.



I’m used to ordering pizza from my PC / Pockete PC; without any human contact lol.

Works remarkably well and the 3 locations in this City turned into one.

If it works; saves them money and makes the customer happy – why not?


I can see this business model working for remote delivery outlets but I cannot see how it is economical for minimum wage positions like the drive thru positions to be centralized. This is not an area where delays or shoddy service are going to be tolerated by customers so unless the remote staff are serving a number of different locations simultaneously there should be little cost benefit to the company. If that is true, however, the potential downside is huge if there are problems delivering the right food to the right store.

Nitin Badjatia


Here in the Pittsburgh area, we have a pizza chain that used to be called Pizza Outlet. They recently changed their name to Vocelli and implemented a similar call center concept. It works remarkably well. You call your order into a central call center, and the order is then routed to the appropriate Vocelli location. Deliveries have been quicker, and the order taking process much nicer.

Vocelli is not a small operation, either. They crossed the $50M mark in sales last year. One of the more interesting things they did when they moved to the call center model was to close and relocate retail stores in some areas. Now they don’t pay for a retail location where sales were 90% delivery, and can operate larger ‘ovens’ for faster turnaround time.

As to how this will work for drive thru food, who knows. But, I am certain that the Vocelli model will certainly shake things up.

….oh, I think they are also going to begin online order services soon.

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