A new McDonald’s restaurant in Texas, U.S.A, has opened up, but it isn’t the average McDonald’s. It is its first “automated” restaurant, and it’s could be the “potential future of fast food” as it tries to solve the problems faced during the pandemic.
The pandemic in 2020 saw a ban on indoor dining, which led to many fast food restaurants like McDonald’s serving customers via drive-thru or delivery services. Naturally, that also led to longer wait times.
The new automated McDonald’s is smaller than the average McDonald’s—having customers placing orders at a kiosk, rather than through a counter worker. Customers can then pick it up at the store’s dedicated Drive-Thru Express Lane, where it will be delivered via conveyor belt.
“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,” said Keith Vanecek, the franchisee operating the test restaurant.
While it will indeed give an idea of what the future of fast food services would look like, some have criticised the new highly automated restaurant. They argued that McDonald’s is opting to install expensive automation systems to replace employees.
“And if they forget an item. Who are you supposed to tell, the robot? It defeats the purpose of using the drive-thru if you have to go inside for it,” one consumer noted.
However, a spokesperson for McDonald’s reports that the test restaurant still has human staff. The difference is that crew members are all focused on making and packaging orders rather than taking or delivering them.