Would you like files with that? McDonalds’ latest employees are a bunch of uneducated androids

17 May 2011
we thought you'd enjoy a picture contaiing bacon. Who wouldn't?

If the state of the economy weren't bad enough, that last vestige of the unwashed and uneducated is now under threat. In an interview with the Financial Times, McDonalds Europe president, Steve Easterbrook announced that the newest recruits to its 7,000 European stores will be computer terminals.

Think self-service tills at the supermarket and you have got the gist. Instead of having to speak to a human being*, you can simply input your order, swipe your card, and grab your grub. No details on the delivery method of the actual food are available as yet, but we are hoping for a teeny little train with carriages brimming with burgers.

This move is part of McDonalds' efforts to “woo cash-strapped customers". It is also reportedly refurbishing stores and introducing longer opening hours and new menus. Presumably this means new food on the menu, as opposed to just rewriting the same old stuff in a new font.

Mr Easterbrook said that the computers will not only make life easier for consumers (ask any baby and they'll tell you poking a finger is much easier than verbal articulation) but will also save that all-too-precious resource, time. He estimates the computerised servers will shave an average three to four seconds for each customer. Given that McDonald's European stores serve 2m customers a day, the time saving alone would work out at a whopping salary saving £11,531 a day, based on not paying a slower human national minimum wage.

Consumers are apparently divided on the issue. The FT wandered around Wimbledon in search of interviewees with difficult to spell names. Weiky Filho was in favour of the changes. “You don't need to communicate with staff and it would be much quicker," he said, having obviously read the previous paragraph.

But Joe Surkitz, on the other hand, was not a fan. “I'm looking for work and if there's more machines doing jobs I'll find it harder," he complained, before adding “plus you won't get service with a smile." Do what?

*debatable in some cases

TOPICS:   Restaurants   Gadgets


  • Delenn
    I assume the machines have been programmed to ask "D'you want fries with that?"
  • Sawyer
    I've seen these self-service machines in the McDonalds in Monaco. You still have to deal with the staff when collecting your order, at which point you will likely be told that nothing you ordered is actually available, as I was. So that's pretty much what I'm expecting when they roll the machines out over here. Except there won't be lager on the menu... because that would be a recipe for disaster.
  • bob
    Yeah until you get an old bat infront of you without a clue, then you will be waiting for eva and eva
  • PokeHerPete
    LOL @ Joe Surkitz Service with a smile? Since when do you get that? Using a machine would help me try and ignore the fact that acne ridden pleb probably wiped their bell end on my bun. The machines, DEY TOOK OUR JUUUURRB!
  • Phil76
    Seriously, I could see this working for drive through burger joints (oops, nearly called McD's a restaurant!). Anything that cuts out another chance for someone to screw up your order has got to be good!
  • Paul
  • Paul
    On a serious note though, personally I think this would increase waiting times for customers - have you ever been in a self service queue, its normally slower than going to the till. You have stupid stupid people randomly jabbing the touch monitor. You just know you'll end up behind someone who'll make a mistake then take up more time correcting the mistake
  • Nick T.
    Great - with all that money being saved every day, the prices will come down. Won't they?
  • Kev
    Oh, they had these sort of Self-Service machines in a Burger King in Norwich a few years ago. I say a few years ago because that closed down shortly afterwards. The problem with the machines are clear.. 1. Lack of choice.. If it's not on the menu, you cannot order it... 2. People generally are confused by technology. 3. Customers think the machines are there to browse the foods on offer, thus tying up the machine whilst they take their pick. 5. When it goes wrong (and it does), there is no-one to speak to.. Automatic machines for ordering food are a stupid idea, they only save time if everybody who uses the machine knows how it works. Why not put a trained member of staff next to each to push the buttons for the customers?, that would work. :P
  • Mark C.
    Well I for one am looking forward to hearing Marvin the Android-like dolorous tones declaring "I'm loving it. No really, I am. Brain the size of a planet, and here I am, waiting for you to decide whether you want Sprite or Coke".
  • Thefunboi
    Used these in Spain a month ago. Very easy, especially when you dont speak Spanish, and you can alter the language. If you want a variation from the menu, ie No onion, then dont hold me up, and go to the 'real person'. It makes you put your card and pin in FIRST to avoid the twats 'browsing'. Prices might not go down as a result, but it may prevent them going up with the rise in cost of basic crops and foods worldwide. They have one worker walking around per four touchscreens. That answer it all for y'all? ANd no. I dont work for them.

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