McDonald’s has opened its first automated restaurant, with machines handling everything from taking orders to delivering food — and splitting opinions everywhere.
“When you get into the experimental restaurant concept, you will notice that it is much smaller than a traditional McDonald’s in the United States,” McDonald’s said in a statement. “Why? The features—both indoors and outdoors—are aimed at customers who plan to dine at home or on the go.”
The Fort Worth, Texas, location uses technology to reduce human interaction when ordering and picking up food. Newsweek reports that the restaurant features an “Order Ahead Lane” where customers can take orders via a conveyor belt.
The initiative is part of McDonald’s “Accelerate the Arches” plan, which is growing and innovating the customer experience, but not everyone is happy with the direction the restaurant chain has chosen.
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TikTok userfoodiemunster shared a video of his experience, which showed the user going into a small but empty McDonald’s with a single kiosk to order food and a conveyor belt to deliver it when it’s ready.
“Inside the restaurant, there is a delivery pick-up room for couriers to quickly and easily retrieve orders,” McDonald’s explained in its statement. “There are also kiosks, where customers can place their orders to go, and a pick-up counter.”
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“Outside the restaurant, there are several parking spaces designated for picking up orders from the curb, as well as parking spaces designated for delivery drivers.”
McDonald’s confirmed that restaurant staff will remain to help prepare orders, and eliminating tasks such as handling the register and getting food to the front aisles or drive-in aisles will help improve the team’s ability to compile orders.
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“The technology in this restaurant not only allows us to serve our customers in new and innovative ways, but it gives our restaurant team the ability to focus more on the speed and accuracy of ordering, making the experience more enjoyable for everyone,” explains Keith Vanicek, the franchisee who operates the test restaurant.
“I am very proud to have this new restaurant concept serving our customers in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.”
The social media response indicated that people did not universally agree whether this was a positive or negative change: some people celebrated the innovation as a step towards faster and more accurate orders, but others took a more pessimistic stance predicting that it would lead to “millions of jobs” being lost.
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“Honestly, if they keep doing this, I’m going to boycott McDonald’s. Their food is at it’s best anyway,” said one user.
McDonald’s had not responded to FOX Business’ request for comment by the time of publication.
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