McDonald’s opened its first automated restaurant, with machines handling everything from taking orders to delivering the food – and dividing opinions everywhere.
"When you step inside the test restaurant concept, you'll notice it's considerably smaller than a traditional McDonald's restaurant in the U.S.," McDonald’s said in a statement. "Why? The features—inside and outside—are geared toward customers who are planning to dine at home or on the go."
The Fort Worth, Texas, location uses technology to minimize human interaction when ordering and picking up food. The restaurant features an "Order Ahead Lane" where customers can receive orders by conveyor belt, Newsweek reported.
The initiative is part of McDonald’s "Accelerating the Arches" plan, which works to grow and innovate the customer experience, but not everyone is pleased with the direction the restaurant chain has chosen.
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TikTok user @foodiemunster shared a video of their experience, which showed the user going into a small but empty McDonald’s with one kiosk to order food and a conveyor belt that delivers it when ready.
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"Inside the restaurant, there's a delivery pick-up room for couriers to retrieve orders quickly and conveniently," McDonald’s explained in its statement. "There are also kiosks, where customers can place their orders to go, and a pick-up shelf for orders."
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"Outside the restaurant, there are several parking spaces dedicated to curbside order pick-up, as well as designated parking spaces for delivery drivers."
A customer accepts their order off the conveyor belt at the drive-thru window, avoiding all human interaction during their order process. McDonald's stressed that a restaurant crew will remain to help prepare the orders, and the removal of tasks such as handling the register and delivering food to the front or drive-thru lanes will help improve the team's ability to assemble orders.
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"The technology in this restaurant not only allows us to serve our customers in new, innovative ways, it gives our restaurant team the ability to concentrate more on order speed and accuracy, which makes the experience more enjoyable for everyone," explains Keith Vanecek, the franchisee operating the test restaurant.
The Fort Worth location that serves as the pilot for the automated program."I am immensely proud to have this new restaurant concept serving our customers in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex."
Social media response indicated people did not universally agree whether this was a positive or negative change: Some people celebrated the innovation as a move towards faster and more accurate orders, but others took a more cynical position and predicted that it would lead to a loss of "millions of jobs."
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"Honestly, if they go through with this I'll just boycott McDonald's. Their food's mid at best anyway," one user said.
McDonald’s did not respond to a FOX Business request for comment by time of publication.Click Here To Get Funded!