McDonald's ditches more sales for accuracy

"Where are my McNuggets?!" Every fast food junkie knows how common it is to find surprise food orders in a drive-thru bag. (Tweet this)

Now fast-food giant McDonald's is moving to cut down on order mistakes, even at the expense of lucrative upselling at the drive-thru.

The restaurant chain is quietly rolling out a new initiative called "Ask, Ask, Tell" during which drive-thru crew will repeatedly verify the correct order at three separate times (when a customer orders, pays and receives a meal) to improve accuracy.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Because this new policy takes up crucial drive-thru seconds, McDonald's has to find a new way to preserve speed. The chain's answer? It plans to discourage "suggestive selling," an industry term for trying to make customers spend more money on food and drinks by proposing buying additional items, according to a document obtained by CNBC.

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Crew are also urged to keep food bags open so customers can easily check whether drive-thru orders are correct. While some restaurants CNBC called are already using the new process, McComb said all restaurants will implement it "later in the summer."

"At McDonald's we're always looking for ways to improve the customer experience. Ask, Ask, Tell is a program we're implementing nationwide to help improve that experience in our drive-thrus," McDonald's spokeswoman Lisa McComb told CNBC on Friday.

McDonald's U.S. generates more than 60 percent of sales at the drive-thru.

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In July 2013, then-CFO Peter Bensen told analysts the chain was "employing more suggestive selling strategies at the order point to encourage trials of new products and add-on purchases."

What McDonald's needs to do now

The company is in the middle of a prolonged domestic turnaround attempt amid fierce restaurant competition. CEO Steve Easterbrook has said McDonald's needs to act boldly to revitalize itself as the outside world has changed more quickly outside of McDonald's than inside the chain.

On an investor call in December, McDonald's U.S. President Michael Andres said menu complexity has challenged drive-thru speed over the last several years. To counteract this, the company pared down its menu earlier this year and plans to further simplify drive-thru menus to boost speed.