Workers complaining because McDonald’s would not raise their wages might want to start looking for other jobs sooner rather than later: CEO Steve Easterbrook has announced that by 2020, every McDonald’s in the U.S. will be stocked with self-order kiosks.
1,000 stores will get the new kiosks every quarter for the next two years; they already exist in around 3,500 of the roughly 14,000 domestic outlets. Half of the McDonald’s in the United States will feature the kiosks by the end of this year; the locations in Australia, Canada, and the U.K. are running ahead of the American stores.
There is a reason why McDonald’s overseas operations have led on the kiosk wave, said John Gordon, a restaurant expert for the Pacific Management Consulting Group: A greater willingness to try new ideas.
The U.S., by contrast, is “a big slug of business” and that “if you make a mistake, then the consequences are great.”
But it’s possible McDonald’s will run into consumer resistance. A poll conducted by MSN found that 78% of customers are less likely to go into a restaurant that has a self-service kiosk. Even if it has the kiosks, most McDonald’s restaurants still lets customers order at the counter.
CEO Easterbrook and other representatives of McDonald’s say kiosks aren’t a substitute for human workers, but rather a new way to bring the benefits of technology to the fast-food industry.
Easterbrook hopes to have self-serve kiosks in all U.S. locations by 2020.
The kiosk in your hand will work, too: The ability to order from your own smartphone will come to more stores, CNBC reported. Delivery options are under consideration as well.
The kiosk initiative if part of McDonald’s quest to adapt to changing consumer preferences. That effort extends to experimenting with the food as well, such as the meatless McVegan burgers now in some McDonald’s in Europe.
Aside from the “Experience the Future” plan, the giant fast food chain is also looking to offer delivery options in Asia and the Middle East.
McDonald’s spokesperson Terri Hickey told BuzzFeed News the restaurants with the kiosks will “still have cashiers — kiosks provide another option for customers to order and pay. We’re finding with kiosks, customers tend to feel less rushed, take their time, browse the menu, and often order more.”
Hickey added that the cashiers who will no longer be needed will work elsewhere in the restaurants in “positions like Guest Experience Leaders and table service.”