Ever imagined ordering your fast-food meal from a robot? You might get a chance sooner than you think after a popular fast food chain announced that not only are they adding a bunch of self-serve kiosks, they’re opening 1,000 new locations.
McDonald’s is the world’s second-largest fast-food chain with over 37,000 locations behind Subway with its more than 44,000 locations, according to World Atlas. But while Subway is struggling — they recently announced the closure of 900 stores — McDonald’s is seeing more money flow into their coffers after the success of their McPick 2 deal, according to USA Today.
"Our business is growing, and it’s fundamentally sound. 2017 was our best performance in six years. Customers are rewarding us with more visits," said McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook.
That’s why they’re opening 1,000 new restaurants around the world. As for the self-serve kiosks, that’s a growing trend in the fast food industry that not everyone is happy about. Some customers don’t like the idea of ordering off a touchscreen instead of speaking to a cashier face-to-face, and some cashiers are afraid they’ll be replaced by a soulless automaton.
But according to Business Insider, replacing people with robots in the food ordering process isn’t McDonald’s intention. The company said that while some — not all — cashier positions will be replaced, those employees will simply be moved to other positions in the restaurants, like providing better table service (McDonald’s doesn’t have robotic table servers yet).
A McDonald's spokeswoman explained the McDonald’s CEO “has said on many occasions that self-order kiosks in McDonald’s restaurants are not a labor replacement. They provide an opportunity to transition back-of-the-house positions to more customer service roles such as concierges and table service where they are able to truly engage with guests and enhance the dining experience."
From a customer perspective, that could still mean fewer human cashiers at your favorite McDonald’s location. However, the company is banking on customers enjoying the ease and accuracy of ordering their food from a touchscreen as well as shorter lines at the cashier counter.
Sales have already increased at stories that have been testing out the self-serve kiosks.
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