mcdonalds reopening

Consumers returning to the drive-thru for comfort and human interaction. And at McDonalds, long chaotic lines are signaling a strong reopening vibe for all.

Safety is a number one concern for both vendors and consumers, and is being rethought as contactless operations become not just an option, but a demand. Retailers, restauranteurs and other CPG, and consumer-facing interests will find this insight telling, as we explore:

  • The resurgence of the drive-through as a new somewhat connected pastime
  • Contactless options brands are considering as demand grows
  • How to leave room for human interaction in a future that is increasingly distanced and technologically focused

And we’ve uncovered key stats, including:

  • Juniper Research reports, contactless payments will triple to $6 trillion worldwide by 2024
  • 47% of consumers still want human interaction when it comes to customer services.
  • 54% percent of consumers use social media to research products, setting the stage for savvy brands to make personal connections
  • Drive thru sales represent 70% of fast food sales, generating billions of dollars for the industry monthly.
  • The satisfactory wait-time limit with customers is between 3 to 4 minutes.

And more. Let’s check it out!

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The conversation around reopening offers more than meets the eye:


Separating our clusters, eliminating Confirmed Coronavirus Cases, we can look at top clusters according to mentions in articles, papers and research.


McDonalds holds sway over much of the combined categories, and it’s no wonder as they’ve created quite a stir…..

Drive-through as the New ‘Day Out’?

Previously taken for granted, the drive-thru is seeing a resurgence as consumers gather in long lines for burgers and fries after a long time in lockdown.

And planning for a wait seems unavoidable as France, UK and Irleand McDonalds recently demonstrated that consumers were willing to wait for three hours or more. With the average acceptable wait time between 3 to 4 minutes typically, these wait lines demonstrate McDonalds’ incredible brand loyalty.

long line mcdonalds

And the golden arches aren’t the only fast food restaurant experiencing gridlock.

Burger King reopened its first UK location in Havant, Hampshire. A steady stream of cars were reported all day, crowding the streets of the small town.

burger king gridlock

And then we have Wendy’s reporting that 90% of all their business is from drive through.

But being open for food and generating long lines isn’t enough to keep your bubble buoyant. Brands need to adapt to the demand for contactless interaction, such as payments and handling of food.

Creative Contactless Options Brands are Considering

Businesses that make the switch to contactless services are ahead of the race. Juniper Research reports that contactless payments will triple to $6 trillion worldwide by 2024 (from $2 trillion this year).

It’s not just contactless payments however, the pandemic everywhere has consumers saying, “no touchy.” And smart brands are heeding that request, finding innovative ways to comply.

Dunkin’ Donuts has a mobile app you can order through to save you time in store, and they took it one step further and introduced mobile orders for drive through service. Also, available at select DD sites are digital kiosks so customers can order without the help of an employee.

Social analytics helps us peek at DD’s consumers, and how they view the brand.


And the behavior word cloud gives us top emotions expressed by people tweeting or posting anywhere on social media about the donut king. Overall, consumers are happy.


It’s not just food though – “touchless” is top dog at auto shops as well . . .

Complete Guide to Social Media Analytics

Volkswagen’s Safe Hands

Joining in a different type of drive-through is Volkswagon, with their ‘safe hands’ campaign. Included in this we see:

  • Contactless vehicle acceptance
  • Video walkthroughs
  • Sanitization before and after the repair
  • Cashless payments with e-invoicing
  • Vehicle pick-up and drop-off arrangement


All of this is a winning combo as the sentiment wheels below demonstrate. Our left wheel shows the amount of Volkswagen posts which are positive (61.8%). And then to the right we see brands that Volkswagen consumers are also chatting about. So, a good bit of clickable, expandable and best-in-class accurate competitive intelligence for brands in the space:


And before we get lost in the act of “going contactless” itself, it’s important for brands to keep the human experience top of mind too. As consumers ultimately crave connection as well.

Craving Connection Beyond Online

Creating that balance between in-person and online is challenging, especially when our future shopping trips are designed to be ‘get in and get out’ experiences. This leaves little time for brands to connect meaningfully with consumers.

Studies report that 47% of consumers still want human interaction when it comes to customer services. YouTube users are expressing their anticipation for in-person shopping.


Here we can see terms attributed to shopping in-store, offering a mixed bag of positives and negatives:


Reading the room of mixed emotions, McDonalds is making personal interaction safer, promoting their cleaning schedule, and social distancing rules:


And though many consumers crave personal connection, just as many still aren’t ready to venture out.

With 54% of consumers using social media to research products, brands are still focused on coming to the consumer, until consumers are ready to come to them. And as 71% of consumers who have a positive experience with a brand via social media are likely to recommend them to a friend, this is an important way to connect.

Some ways they’re doing this include:

Interactive posts to bring a personal touch:


And they promote their consumers:


By using social media platforms to marry personal interaction with online business, they’re creating a perfect union for those who aren’t ready for in-store shopping, but seek to feel connected. It’s all about capturing which indicators and keywords make the most sense for your specific audience. And consumer and marketing intelligence helps you sort that out.

Make sure your brand is ready to adapt, act and pivot again as needed. Those murder hornets have to be headed our ways soon, after all! Reach out for a demo!

Complete Guide to Social Media Analytics

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