Here's Why McDonald's Takes Your Picture If You're Picking Up A Drive-Thru Order

McDonald's drive-thru with cars
McDonald's drive-thru with cars - Margarita-young/Getty Images

If you've ever visited a McDonald's drive-thru at a particularly busy time of day, you may have been instructed to pull your vehicle into a parking spot to wait for your order. You may have also wondered just exactly how fast food staff know which order belongs to which vehicle. A worker at the chain shed light on this topic, claiming that the fast food establishment uses strategically placed cameras at its drive-thrus, which take pictures of cars. When the order is ready, employees refer to the picture to ensure another vehicle doesn't inadvertently receive your 10-piece McNugget meal.

Further clarification on McDonald's camera system is provided by a purported McDonald's Crew Member on Quora, who claims that a picture of the vehicle is taken as soon as the order is punched in. In some cases, the camera will also capture a picture of the license plate, but only when "the drive-thru is not horribly backed up." Staff are apparently instructed to verify the plates whenever possible, but they can also verify the correct vehicle according to the car's color. Most importantly, staff must repeat the order during pick-up to ensure accuracy. While comprehensive, McDonald's high-tech drive-thru system is not completely infallible.

Read more: The Ultimate American Fast Food Restaurants Ranked

McDonald's Drive-Thrus Can Become Quite Hectic

McDonald's staff providing order
McDonald's staff providing order - Yaoinlove/Getty Images

In a Reddit thread, a McDonald's customer complained that their order went to another vehicle and asked whether the restaurant uses cameras in its drive-thrus to match orders with customers. A worker verified that they do, and that they also utilize a "pressure pad" under the drive-thru lane, which signals staff that a vehicle has pulled in. In this case, the worker believed that the customer who absconded with the wrong order did so intentionally. However, it's likely that orders are mistakenly handed to the wrong people.

In some instances, a staff member may forget to verify the order with the customer. This is an essential component of the drive-thru process, as it's possible for vehicles to get out of order when there are multiple lanes. In other cases, customers fail to pay attention when their order is being verified. Per McDonald's staff, some customers answer in the affirmative because they're not actually listening, while others fail to reply at all. This can lead to quite a bit of confusion, albeit far less confusion than when a customer attempted to pull off a curious order via bicycle.

Can You Order Food On A Bicycle At McDonald's?

McDonald's signage
McDonald's signage - Jilliancain/Getty Images

Among TikTok's many videos illustrating drive-thru cameras at McDonald's, one features a customer's truly unhinged experience at the restaurant. In the clip, the customer rolls up to the drive-thru speaker on a bicycle and requests a single slice of cheese. In the U.K. (where the clip appears to have originated), bicyclists are expected to adhere to many of the same traffic rules as other vehicles. However, fast food establishments typically prohibit pedestrians at drive-thrus, and bicyclists are often included.

Despite these obstacles, the customer in the video is successful in procuring their single slice of cheese. They also ask, "Is it a nice photo?" after the staff member says they identified the questionable conveyance via a photo taken at the drive-thru. As a result, it appears that the chain's drive-thru cameras also serve a security purpose, as they deter pranksters from visiting McDonald's on foot or bicycle. They also help staff run an orderly operation, provided customers are willing to do their part.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.