Sunday Soapbox–McDonald’s Kiosks

McDonald's new future

I very rarely go to McDonald’s any more, but ended up there the other day and they have installed a self-service kiosk to order from.  There was a long line to order and an employee called me over to the kiosk and asked if I’d like to use it to order.  Being the tech-savvy guy that I am, I went right over and she started me through the process.

The problem is, it took LONGER to place my order than it would talking to a human.  Normally I’d just say “I’d like the #4 combo, no onions, small size, for here.” and after a couple keystrokes and swiping my card we’d be done.   On the kiosk however, I had to weave through several menus (Do you want breakfast or lunch? Classics or custom?  Extra onions, light onions, or no onions? What side would you like? How about one of our fantastic desserts?) and it took way too long.  The kicker is, even though my order went in before some of the people waiting in line, I didn’t get my order any faster, in fact I think some of the people in line got it before me.  They gave me a pager device to take to my table (“so we’ll know where to find you”) but still ended up with a kid walking around the tables calling my number so obviously that tech wasn’t working well either.

So retailers of the world, I know that the kiosks will increase your average sale,  and that labor costs are rising and you need to replace cashiers,  but if you’re going to replace a cashier with a machine, please make sure it’s EASIER for the customer and not harder.  That is all.


More about the kiosks here.