In November 2020 McDonald’s unveiled a new growth strategy during a presentation to investors. The main message was that future McDonald’s restaurants are going to be a lot different as the company will invest heavily in what it calls the three D’s: Digital, Delivery and Drive Thru. McDonald’s will accelerate technology innovation so its 65 million daily customers will experience “a fast, easy experience, whether at one of our 25,000 and growing Drive Thrus, through McDelivery, dine-in or takeaway.”

The shift is being made partly as a result of lessons learned during the coronovirus pandemic. Consumers have shifted their habits demanding everything in a hurry which has further emphasized the importance of the drive-thru concept. According to CEO Chris Kempczinski “the needs of customers coming through the pandemic are going to be different than they were coming in. The restaurant experience we offer must change to meet these evolving needs.” About 65% of McDonald’s restaurants globally feature a drive-thru, and the company wants to build more.

McDonalds also announced a new addition to its menu, the McPlant. This is a “plant-based burger crafted for McDonald’s, by McDonald’s.” The company said it expects markets to begin testing the McPlant in early 2021. The McPlant platform could hypothetically be expanded to include plant-based chicken or sausage for breakfast items.

With the company’s 25,000 drive thrus proving vital during the coronavirus pandemic, McDonald’s announced some of new drive thru concepts they’re testing. Among them is a smaller restaurant dedicated to drive thru, takeaway and delivery with limited or no dine-in seating. Other announcements include:

  • Testing an ordering and ID system that will identify customers at the display screen and streamline the ordering and payment process.
  • An express pickup feature which will include dedicated parking spaces for customers to park while employees bring out food
  • An express drive thru for customers who place orders on the app.
  • Introduction of a loyalty program called MyMcDonald’s, which can make menu recommendations and customize rewards based on past orders

And, of course, the return of the McRib.

McDonald’s first introduced its Drive Thru concept back in 1975.