Amazon isn't counting solely on IMDb TV to offer no-charge video. TechCrunch reports that Amazon has launched another free video service, MiniTV, in India....
Drive-thrus are key for McDonalds. About 95% of the chain's nearly 14,000 US locations have drive-thrus, with 25,000 worldwide.
A McDonald's 24 hour drive-thru.
Source: Restaurant Dive
"Drive-thru made McDonald's what it is today," McDonald's CEO and president Chris Kempczinski said in an earnings call in April.
AP Photo/Richard Drew
Now, the drive-thru is more important than ever, making up more than 90% of business thanks to the pandemic.
I gave the classic drive-thru experience a try to see how one of the biggest chains in the world stands up to the competition.
For fairness, I decided to order what the chains are most known for at each restaurant using their apps. At McDonald's, that's a quarter pounder and Big Mac, and of course fries.
The app is pretty standard compared to other fast food mobile ordering. I selected my order and location and then went to pick it up through the drive-thru.
The app gave me a short code to give the worker at the speaker, which I think made things move slightly faster than trying to repeat my name a few times.
My McDonald's location has double drive-thru lanes, a relatively recent innovation that was added to reduce wait times and bottlenecks.
McDonald's corporate has been pushing franchisees to upgrade drive-thrus since 2019 after years of increasingly long wait times.
McDonald's average drive-thru wait times got slower every year for six years through 2019, leading to an all-time high of 273 seconds.
Along with double lanes, consolidating menus by removing options like grilled chicken sandwiches, salads, and all-day breakfast cut wait times.
I had a fairly simple order, but I didn't wait more than five minutes to receive my food.
McDonald's has also been investing in a curbside pickup program, with designated numbered parking spots where employees can bring out food to waiting customers.
Next up, I went to Chick-fil-A.
Chick-fil-A is a leader in the drive-thru industry, pioneering technology like handheld tablets for multiple ordering areas and taking orders by video.
Brynn Anderson/AP Photo
The chain stands out from the drive-thru crowd in large part thanks to its workers with iPads who take orders from cars even before they reach the window. At Chick-fil-A, ordering and delivery are "zones," not set locations.
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Chick-fil-A's app is better designed and easier to use. It's simple to choose your nearest location, how you want to get your order, and your food.
You can order before arriving at the restaurant, and the app directs you to exactly where to go and automatically notices when you arrive thanks to geofencing.
It's also convenient to get directions within the app, or change to curbside pickup if the drive-thru line looks very long.
My local Chick-fil-A also had double lanes, which kept lines moving.
Everything in Chick-fil-A's operation feels thought out and operates smoothly - like a QR code to make sure customers can see the menu and know what they want to order by the time they make it to the speaker.
The chain also cuts down on wait times by sending workers out to cars waiting in line to collect payments and deliver food.
The area where windows would be in any other fast-food drive-thru is instead a large sliding door, which workers are constantly running in and out of, transporting food.
Even double lanes and carhop-style workers can't stop the wait from being long. The chicken brand's drive-thrus can get so busy that they create traffic and even legal issues in some locations.
Sometimes local police even get involved, directing traffic and settling disputes with other nearby businesses who get blocked by Chick-fil-A customers.
I preferred Chick-fil-A's food to Mcdonald's, but the wait was about four times longer at nearly 20 minutes.
Chick-fil-A is a pioneer when it comes to testing out drive-thru technology. Other brands like McDonald's, Starbucks, and others are adopting methods proven successful by Chick-fil-A.
Chick-fil-A was the third-largest US chain by sales in 2019 with $11.3 billion in sales at its about 2,500 locations. McDonald's was the largest chain, with $40 billion in sales at nearly 14,000 locations.
The average Chick-fil-A location makes over $4.5 million in annual sales, compared to the average McDonald's with about $2.9 billion.
Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Chick-fil-A is somewhat a victim of its own success; even with some of the most advanced technology in the business, wait times are long compared to competitors.
Photo by Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post via Getty Images
McDonald's has a slight edge for the moment, but Chick-fil-A is gaining on it and poised to surpass the burger giant.
Liam McBurney/PA Images/Getty Images
Chick-fil-A's relatively small size is an asset compared to McDonald's. It has room to grow and build new restaurants with state-of-the-art drive-thrus, and the chain has already shown that it isn't afraid to experiment with new technology.
Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at email@example.com.
(RTTNews) - The Thai stock market on Wednesday halted the five-day losing streak in which it had stumbled more than 30 points or 2 percent. The Stock Exchange of Thailand now rests just above the 1,575-point plateau although it's expected to turn lower again on Thursday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed to lower on mixed earnings news and rising crude oil prices. The European markets were up and the U.S. bourses were down and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.
The SET finished sharply higher on Wednesday following gains from the financial shares and energy producers.
For the day, the index climbed 17.56 points or 1.13 percent to finish at 1,576.79 after trading between 1,562.84 and 1,578.62. Volume was 33.618 billion shares worth 94.645 billion baht. There were 1,021 gainers and 613 decliners, with 455 stocks finishing unchanged.
Among the actives, Advanced Info dropped 0.87 percent, while Thailand Airport spiked 3.29 percent, Asset World accelerated 3.42 percent, Bangkok Asset Management climbed 1.49 percent, Bangkok Bank advanced 0.83 percent, Bangkok Dusit Medical added 0.46 percent, Bangkok Expressway gained 0.63 percent, BTS Group improved 0.56 percent, Gulf jumped 1.48 percent, Kasikornbank collected 0.38 percent, Krung Thai Bank gathered 1.80 percent, PTT Oil & Retail increased 0.84 percent, PTT perked 0.64 percent, PTT Exploration and Production was up 1.31 percent, PTT Global Chemical rallied 1.95 percent, SCG Packaging strengthened 1.44 percent, Siam Commercial Bank climbed 0.97 percent, Siam Concrete soared 2.73 percent and TMB Bank and Charoen Pokphand Foods were unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street is soft as stocks saw a lack of direction on Wednesday, bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before ending modestly lower.
The Dow shed 164.55 points or 0.48 percent to finish at 33,820.38, while the NASDAQ lost 39.19 points or 0.28 percent to end at 14,051.03 and the S&P 500 fell 3.54 points or 0.08 percent to close at 4,183.18.
Stocks initially lacked direction as traders looked ahead to the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement, although the choppy trading continued after the Fed announced its widely expected decision to maintain ultra-easy policy.
The Fed left interest rates and asset purchases unchanged even as the central bank upgraded its assessment of the U.S. economy, adding that the sectors most affected by the coronavirus pandemic remain weak but have improved.
Traders were also reacting to the latest earnings news from several big-name companies as Alphabet (GOOGL) and Visa (V) beat the street while Amgen (AMGN) and Boeing (BA) disappointed.
Crude oil prices moved higher Wednesday amid hopes energy demand will increase in the near future. A much smaller than expected increase in U.S. crude inventories last week also contributed to oil's advance. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended higher by $0.92 or 1.5 percent at a six-week high of $63.86 a barrel.