Drive-Through-Only Restaurant Draws Younger Crowd and Surges Past Expectations
Younger customers have helped the first CosMc’s restaurant get off to a roaring-good start. McDonald’s had announced plans for the beverage-centric spinoff last summer, and its first site opened Dec. 7 in Bolingbrook, Ill., near McDonald’s corporate headquarters in Chicago. Later this year, McDonald’s plans to launch nine more CosMc’s, which are drive-through-only restaurants; the concept has no dining room.
In its first month of operation, the CosMc’s site served twice as many customers as a typical McDonald’s within the chain, according to a CNN report that cited statistics from Placer.ai. (Placer.ai utilizes data from mobile devices to keep tabs on customers’ visits to particular sites.) Worldwide, the McDonald’s chain has more than 40,200 full-size, full-menu restaurants, according to Zippia.com.
RJ Hottovy of Placer.ai noted that the CosMc’s location sometimes fills its drive-through lanes, with customers’ vehicles spilling over into a separate parking lot. “We saw quite a bit of demand,” Hottovy said in the CNN report. “There were so many people in the drive-through lane that if they had more capacity, the traffic numbers would have been a lot higher.” The firm’s research also indicated that CosMc’s customer base skewed toward 22- to 29-year-olds.
The CNN report emphasized that the customer numbers alone, while impressive, don’t tell the whole story. The golden lining is the supremely efficient use of space. CosMc’s delivered three times as many visits per square foot than a typical McDonald’s restaurant. CosMc’s requires only about 2,500 square feet, while the traditional McDonald’s model is 4,000 to 4,500 square feet.
The Menu and More
Named for a relatively obscure 1980s McDonald’s character, CosMc’s apparently hopes to siphon traffic away from Starbucks. Its specialty drinks include the Churro Frappe, Popping Pear Slush and S’mores Cold Brew, along with frappes, specialty iced teas and lemonades. The menu also includes cookies, pretzel bites and Egg McMuffins.
“I think this really is a test-and-learn concept, one to track a younger audience and test menu innovations,” Hottovy said in the CNN article. “If nothing else, CosMc’s is creating a tremendous amount of buzz and attracting new customers. It’s just one location for now, so it doesn’t look like it’s cannibalizing McDonald’s at this point but bringing in incremental visitors – the group that wasn’t coming into McDonald’s as much.”
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