‘Drive-thru’ gloves debut at fast food restaurant
On Fridays, the crew working at the McDonald’s in Cottage Grove wear McDonald’s branded T-
shirts as their uniforms. But Andrew Brundidge’s shirt was barely visible since it was covered by his heavy winter jacket.
Working the drive-thru as his after-school job, the Park High School junior needed his jacket to keep
warm as he repeatedly opened and closed the window while reaching out to take credit cards
and cash and hand receipts to customers during his busy shift.
“My favorite station is the drive-thru,” said Brundidge, 16, who joined the McDonald’s team
seven months ago. “Except when it’s so cold, that is.”
But now Brundidge’s hands are warmer, thanks to an idea he dreamed up. When his mother
picked him up from work on an 11-degree November day, Brundidge’s fingers were so frigid and
numb that he held them over the car heating vent to warm them up. That got him thinking.
“Most gloves are no good at the window; they’re so bulky you can’t get a grip on the coins in the
register drawer when you make change. We use a touch screen and thick gloves won’t let you
get contact on the monitor. I wondered if there was a way to design gloves so your index finger
could get out to tap the buttons,” Brundidge said.
In fact, there was. Brundidge found polyester gloves thin enough to not impede his work and
designed with access to let his index fingers poke out. He recently debuted his creation, which he calls “Drew’s Drive-Thru Gloves,” bringing in a few extra pairs to share with his co-workers.
“They work!” Brundidge smiled, poking his pointer through the hooded slit in the fabric.
Patrick Duval, who owns the McDonald’s where Andrew works, along with four other
McDonald’s in the East Metro, was impressed with the brainstorm.
“I first started working at McDonald’s as a crew person when I was 14 and since then, I’ve done
every job there is to do. Whatever you do, you’re using your hands,” Duval said. “In the sub-zero
weather we rotate the people working at the window. It’s not as enjoyable for them in the cold.”
When temperatures drop, Duval said the number of customers who want to pick up their food
while staying in their cars increases significantly. He estimates that during winter months, 75% of orders are placed at the drive-through rather than by customers who come inside and order at the counter.
Duval is keeping an eye on Brundidge’s innovation as a possible solution to chilly fingers. “We’ll see how it goes over in the development stage,” he said. “Anything that makes it easier for them to do their job is a great idea.”
For Brundidge, the gloves have been a hands-on first step into entrepreneurship. “I think I might like to work in business someday,” he said. “I already know how to handle money.”
Brundidge hopes the higher-ups at McDonald’s corporate offices will see his creation and make Drew’s Drive-Thru Gloves a regular part of the employee uniform in cold weather states to go along with the hat, apron, or shirt that workers wear.