McDonald's orders 7,000 touchscreen kiosks to replace cashiers

McDonald's recently added 64,000 people to its payroll in the United States, but job prospects in Europe for those so inclined to work in the fast food industry are looking pretty grim right about now. That's because the fast food giant is poised to add touchscreen kiosks in more than 7,000 of its restaurants in Europe in effort to replace actual, human cashiers.

McDonald's Europe President Easterbrook told the Financial Times (subscription required), via The Sydney Morning Herald, that the touchscreen kiosks should help speed up customer transactions up to three or four seconds. The European eateries currently serve about 2 million people per day; McDonald's hopes it will get even more people to flock in through their doors.

Electronic menus that replace physical beings is nothing new. Microsoft has been pushing its touchscreen computer, the Surface, which has mostly been a big hit at Vegas casinos, hotels, and clubs — where users can order from the table, play around with the image onscreen, and... "flirt" with people at other tables. For the last couple of years, there have been touchscreen kiosks stationed at at least seven McDonald's restaurants in Australia. McDonald's says they have no interest in replacing cashiers with kiosks in Australia, however, or anywhere else for that matter.

Besides monetary incentive, and not to mention that the kiosks will also be getting rid of cash transactions since they only accept credit or debit cards, the kiosks are also a way to gather statistical information about people's eating habits, said Easterbrook. The company could potentially track every last thing you order (or perhaps offer you a free Big Mac with every ten that you purchase?).

"Ordering food has not changed for 30 or 40 years," Easterbrook said, reasoning the addition of touchscreen kiosks.

Details regarding the cost of the technology or when it will be rolled out were not disclosed.

Image credit: Flickr user melpenguin

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Soon it will just use technology similar to XBox Kinnect. You will stand in front of a display, raise your arm, and then grab at the sandwiches you want.

I had this idea 5 years ago when the place I would get my submarine sandwiches had these cool touchscreens to customize your sandwich. I thought hey this would be a great way to make sure customers get what they want and expose new ideas at the same time, this technology could be deployed anywhere that customization of a product of service is needed. It also makes it easier for the business to update their menus, options and prices. Its just one worldwide system update.

No, I do not like self service technology. If something goes wrong with it which is bound to happen, you are going to need a 'human' to fix it anyway, that will then take even longer Good job I prefer KFC :L

Well, some of the people who work in this kind of places are a pain in the @ss. About 3-4 years ago, I went to Frankfurt, Germany, the only bad experience of all my trip was in a Burger King. I was trying to order a plain burger (no vegetables) a soda, and additional to this ketchup and mayonnaise to put it in my burger later by myself... Well, the chashier didn't want to give me the ketchup AND the mayonnaise, it was either one, but not both. After explain he that I was willing to pay for for the mayonnaise, her only answer was ketchup OR mayonnaise in a rude tone. I didn't want to make a show of it so I chose the ketchup, now I regret not calling the manager!

Having worked in McDonalds and seen the sort of filth that works there, I can safely say that having no interaction with the staff is the best move the company could make.
Not that I'd ever set foot in one of them again..

AFineFrenzy said,
Having worked in McDonalds and seen the sort of filth that works there, I can safely say that having no interaction with the staff is the best move the company could make.
Not that I'd ever set foot in one of them again..

It would be incredibly naive to think that any food was *only* handled in a nice, clean environment before you ate it, whether you're talking about the grocery store or buying a prepared meal. Even when the kitchen & cooks are extremely clean/sanitary, you likely wouldn't want to know what it went through before the store, restaurant, or fast food place got it. ;-)

Machines replacing men is nothing new. It has happened in factories and so on, for general labour, and is now happening in the food industry. Already local supermarkets have ditched some cashiers and instead use touchscreen systems (which require staff supervision should you buy certain goods, can be difficult to use or just don't work).

Personally, i think you cannot beat seeing a human face and i hope to god this backfires. Already there are job shortages, the last thing we need are computers everywhere.

Big businesses should be under more pressure in my view to provide jobs, especially when they take the customers and eventually force the closure of smaller, local businesses.

DKcomputers said,
Machines replacing men is nothing new. It has happened in factories and so on, for general labour, and is now happening in the food industry. Already local supermarkets have ditched some cashiers and instead use touchscreen systems (which require staff supervision should you buy certain goods, can be difficult to use or just don't work).

Personally, i think you cannot beat seeing a human face and i hope to god this backfires. Already there are job shortages, the last thing we need are computers everywhere.

Big businesses should be under more pressure in my view to provide jobs, especially when they take the customers and eventually force the closure of smaller, local businesses.

That goes against capitalism. That's more like socialism.

DKcomputers said,
Personally, i think you cannot beat seeing a human face...

How about when that face is attached to a person who's lazy, slow, rude, & just generally wishes you weren't there so they could go back to day dreaming or whatever it was they were doing before you got there?

Another problem we see in the US is mgmt. doesn't want to spend the money to have all the checkouts staffed -- it's often **MUCH** faster to use a self checkout lane when there's a dozen people in every line for every live cashier.

And last but not least, some customers can be just as much idiots as cashiers -- since they don't seem to ever use self-checkout lanes I can only think these people intend to argue about prices & such beforehand. Get caught standing for 15 minutes or more behind one of these folks, with half a dozen people behind you so you can't easily back out, & self checkout looks very good indeed.

digger1985 said,

That goes against capitalism. That's more like socialism.


you're such an idiot, I wonder if you're capitalistic ass gets fired from a job because you're job is eliminated and replaced by a computer/machine going to be such a capitalist then!

Meh... Those don't really replace people. they're used for express orders.
And the catch is you can't order your big Mac without pickles for example, or you can't have your second free burger by showing your student card. And, you must pay with your credit card.

I don't know if the system exists in other countries but here in France we have what we call "ticket restaurant" where the company you work for would give you a pack of tickets worth 8€ (For example) and they would take like 3€ from your salary for each ticket (Basically they pay the other 5€)... Well at those booths you can't use your ticket. I'm not using my credit card when my pocket is full of tickets !!

Also how about increasing the time for people in there everyday lifes and stop having people rely on fast food and actually cook there own meals but everything is always about money and go go go.. when will people slow down and realize reality of what is going on!

Yup here comes automation at its finest next we will have robots doing our cleaning our cooking etc.. and we can all be fat sofa potatoes watching fake reality tv and never do anything that is real world anymore.. gotta love how blinded we are by things..

They have this at least one (!) McDonald's in Madrid. For an express service (what u order comes out extra quick).

Most people seem to be neglecting the people actually making the burgers. If they can eliminate or mitigate the bottleneck at the cash desks, perhaps at 'rush hour' they're gonna need more people to prepare the food, not to mention the people handing you your order

most people actually have problems with ordring stuff from a kiosk. They get lost and confused and then have to wait for ages while someone comes and helps out.

I wouldn't mind this as a secondary option in some of the high traffic McDonalds here. It's like the movie theatres, where there's the traditional desk to order tickets from, and there are credit card kiosks or Internet order pickups. It's funny how one night people were jamming the line to grab tickets for a recently released film, but no lines were at the credit card machines.

They actually tested this here in the Denver area at very select McD's. I personally liked it. It was accurate and they actually got your order correct. There was someone there watching over kiosks to give change or if you had any questions. Other then that, you just ordered the food and you got what you ordered.

On one hand, it drastically lowers the chance of human error for custom orders. On the other hand, it eliminates the need for a human cashier which in turn means less jobs for people that want to work for McDonalds.

virtorio said,
I'll support anything that decreases the amount of required human interaction in my everyday life.

Yes, indeed. When I was living in a dorm, if I didn't want to go to that horrid cafeteria, I would just order food at pizza hut. Unfortunately, that wiped my bank account. But let me say, it was well worth it! (no, I am not obese. Cry, because I can eat a lot of food and I still am incredibly underweight)

LukeEmery said,

Yes, indeed. When I was living in a dorm, if I didn't want to go to that horrid cafeteria, I would just order food at pizza hut. Unfortunately, that wiped my bank account. But let me say, it was well worth it! (no, I am not obese. Cry, because I can eat a lot of food and I still am incredibly underweight)

Being underweight is as lame as being overweight.

azure.sapphire said,

No, no it's not.

Thank you!

Underweight means you do not get enough food, overweight means you have enough food but you continue to eat more. Obvious fail is obvious. Overweight if for dumb people.

So that mean that McBARF will lower the prices as it will be cheaper for them? If not I would never buy Mcbarf food again as I'm not going to be paying same price to use a screen.

clldc said,
So that mean that McBARF will lower the prices as it will be cheaper for them? If not I would never buy Mcbarf food again as I'm not going to be paying same price to use a screen.

McBarf? Never heard of it. But I have heard of McDonalds, which I think their #5 (fish sammich) is rather good. Far superior to a BK fish sammich (which is way too greasy). I know, wut da fuh? Why fish sammiches? Because I am a opportunistic pescetarian.

LukeEmery said,

McBarf? Never heard of it. But I have heard of McDonalds, which I think their #5 (fish sammich) is rather good. Far superior to a BK fish sammich (which is way too greasy). I know, wut da fuh? Why fish sammiches? Because I am a opportunistic pescetarian.

Yeah, okay! Give me an ahi tuna steak, medium rare, any day over any fast-food fish sandwich. Add 150 calories of tartar sauce to that sammich, and your body won't even know there's fish in it.

clldc said,
So that mean that McBARF will lower the prices as it will be cheaper for them? If not I would never buy Mcbarf food again as I'm not going to be paying same price to use a screen.

Why? I'd pay /more/ not to talk with the idiots behind that counter.

Awesome, I'd rather order from a kiosk. I don't see anything wrong with it. Why do you need to "connect" with the cashier? It's not like it makes a difference...

yay more jobs for the IT crowd and less for those (insert whatever you want here). this is where the world is heading towards. we will replace most professions with computers.

Then Ghu help you if you're in a supermarket/hypermarket - the larger chains have had touch-screen (self-service) checkouts for years (some of the pioneers are the smaller chains - in Maryland, it was Weis in the Laurel area, and Mars in the Baltimore area). Ahold (Europe along with their Giant/SuperG/Stop and Shop stores in the US) has been doing this as well (as has their competition). About the only stores that *aren't* doing it are 7-Elevens and their competition (with the exception of some, but not all, combi-stores such as Sheetz).

PGHammer said,
Then Ghu help you if you're in a supermarket/hypermarket - the larger chains have had touch-screen (self-service) checkouts for years (some of the pioneers are the smaller chains - in Maryland, it was Weis in the Laurel area, and Mars in the Baltimore area). Ahold (Europe along with their Giant/SuperG/Stop and Shop stores in the US) has been doing this as well (as has their competition). About the only stores that *aren't* doing it are 7-Elevens and their competition (with the exception of some, but not all, combi-stores such as Sheetz).
7-eleven won't do registers like that because of the potential high theft issue. The 7-eleven near my house makes fresh deli sandwiches and you do put exactly what you want on one of two computer screens, and if you want it toasted. Works great and tastes great!

djdanska said,
7-eleven won't do registers like that because of the potential high theft issue. The 7-eleven near my house makes fresh deli sandwiches and you do put exactly what you want on one of two computer screens, and if you want it toasted. Works great and tastes great!

Yeah, I spent YEARS working at a 7-Eleven, and they would be one of the last stores to go that route because most of them are franchised by small business owners who have to be involved in the process and their profit margins are highly dependent upon minimizing the amount of theft that takes place. My boss used to sit at home at night and watch the security cameras and call me on my cell phone when he saw someone even acting suspicious. No, they need eyes on the prize.

I dont like touchscreens. You never know where the hands of the previous customers have been before they touch the same screen you have to touch. Its pretty disgusting when you think about it for a second...

daddy_spank said,
I dont like touchscreens. You never know where the hands of the previous customers have been before they touch the same screen you have to touch. Its pretty disgusting when you think about it for a second...
They're also getting rid of using cash, which is probably just as unsanitary, if not more, than the screen.

daddy_spank said,
I dont like touchscreens. You never know where the hands of the previous customers have been before they touch the same screen you have to touch. Its pretty disgusting when you think about it for a second...

Wash your hands before you eat then. You should be doing that anyways.

Michael Collado said,
They're also getting rid of using cash, which is probably just as unsanitary, if not more, than the screen.

True dat. You never know where that money has been - maybe in a stripper's g-string!

daddy_spank said,
I dont like touchscreens. You never know where the hands of the previous customers have been before they touch the same screen you have to touch. Its pretty disgusting when you think about it for a second...

Do you have people open doors for you?

Greatbigdragon said,

True dat. You never know where that money has been - maybe in a stripper's g-string!
Exactly! And that's worse than second-hand... y'know, germs from there, that may come from someone using the bathroom and touching the screen.

They've had those here in Australia for a number of years now, while I don't like the potential for job loss, what they've done is clear one side of the service counter as a waiting counter, which is more convenient when waiting for them to make your food.

I always avoid the automatic kiosks and head straight to the "real person" counters anyway, I don't like ordering from kiosks.

I don't know about other areas but they have these at the Jack in the Boxes all over San Diego and they're ****ing awesome.

We already have this in some of the Melbourne McDonalds, and I think it's great. I can browse through the items without getting pushed by the group of people just in front of the cashiers, order it and just pick it up when my number shows up. Extremely simple. I don't go to McDonalds to socialize with cashiers but to grab something to eat, fast.

qdave said,
this is better than people working in such jobs!

Finally people have incentive to get a educated job /s

Dear lord shiva, brahma, jesus, allah, buddha, zeus and eggroll, I loathe capitalism. Why is it so popular yet so stupid?

Wont happen on America. Where all the people who slop down the food helps people keep their jobs. To much demand for the machines to handle....

Something like this could be great for places where you have a lot of international travelers going through. Being able to select a language for those who really need it could speed things up quite a bit I imagine.

Well this is fine by me - Honestly I would rather use a machine than get a few words shouted at me in broken English.

If you are in the north eastern USA in an area like eastern to central Pennsylvania, virgina, and some parts of north carolina, stop in at a Sheetz, they where one of the pioneers of this, and their system works great, you can customize everything you order they did this back in the 1990's with touch screen ordering

I absolutely love how Sheetz does this. It makes it much easier to personalize what I want while eliminating confusion on what is being ordered (assuming those reading my order are competent enough).

neufuse said,
If you are in the north eastern USA in an area like eastern to central Pennsylvania, virgina, and some parts of north carolina, stop in at a Sheetz, they where one of the pioneers of this, and their system works great, you can customize everything you order they did this back in the 1990's with touch screen ordering

Royal Farms also does this too.

I am just worried. When all dumb jobs will be eliminated by touch screens and stuff like that, where will all the dumb people work?

Udedenkz said,
I am just worried. When all dumb jobs will be eliminated by touch screens and stuff like that, where will all the dumb people work?

Hopefully governments the world over will reinvest in make work jobs like infrastructure repair.

Udedenkz said,
I am just worried. When all dumb jobs will be eliminated by touch screens and stuff like that, where will all the dumb people work?

at better food restaurants with other 'actual' people

dotf said,

Hopefully governments the world over will reinvest in make work jobs like infrastructure repair.

Wouldn't that be nice, taking all the people whose skill set is geared toward fast food and giving them the opportunity to branch out into something that might actually help them? Almost doesn't sound like the kind of thing the US government would do for lower-class-types.

dotf said,

Hopefully governments the world over will reinvest in make work jobs like infrastructure repair.

Wouldn't that be nice, taking all the people whose skill set is geared toward fast food and giving them the opportunity to branch out into something that might actually help them? Almost doesn't sound like the kind of thing the US government would do for lower-class-types.

Geez Kinda against this since it is eliminated acctual human jobs eek . Do not just want a computer to order from rather have both as an option.

Actually, it just moved demand for human cashiers to those who develop and maintain the kiosks.

For the most part, I hate dealing with people when purchasing goods.

Draje said,
Actually, it just moved demand for human cashiers to those who develop and maintain the kiosks.

For the most part, I hate dealing with people when purchasing goods.

"Don't Judge Me" comes to mind when ordering triple cheese burger, two large fries and a diet coke

James812 said,
Geez Kinda against this since it is eliminated acctual human jobs eek . Do not just want a computer to order from rather have both as an option.

I agree with that. On one hand, you don't have to face somebody and buy the most expensive, sloppiest combo on the menu - super-sized - because you know it's awesome and tasty. You know they're judging you. On the other hand, where are all the high school kids and unsavories going to work? They need jobs too. You kick them out of there, you're just adding to the unemployment numbers. . . until they stop looking for a job.

It's all becoming so un-personal... Soon it'll just be people queuing infront of a screen and having food pop out of a hole in a wall..

Vice said,
It's all becoming so un-personal... Soon it'll just be people queuing infront of a screen and having food pop out of a hole in a wall..

Now THAT is fast food!

Sonic Drive In already does (inside their building) that and I do have to tell you guys that it's eerily cold an impersonal. I would never eat there again.

Vice said,
It's all becoming so un-personal... Soon it'll just be people queuing infront of a screen and having food pop out of a hole in a wall..

Maybe then we'll actually get what we order, or the correct amount even...

Vice said,
It's all becoming so un-personal... Soon it'll just be people queuing infront of a screen and having food pop out of a hole in a wall..

I read an interesting book once called, "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls". It was, although science fiction, a good indicator of where things could end up.

I personally am guilty of ordering groceries online. My wife stays home and takes care of our newborn, cleans house, etc. I get up at 5:30 AM and get home between 5:30 and 6:00 PM, and at the end of the day the last thing I want to do is go fight with crowds of people in the grocery store. It is impersonal, but it's awfully convenient.

Vice said,
It's all becoming so un-personal... Soon it'll just be people queuing infront of a screen and having food pop out of a hole in a wall..

This weekend im going to be driving a few hours away, and i am making it a goal to stop at a burger place in one of the many small ohio towns im going to drive through, just to try something differnt then a fastfood burger.