Customers Are Lovin’ Kiosks

Jun 18, 2004

By George Anderson

McDonald’s is giving its customers another reason to say, “I’m Lovin’ It.”

The chain’s test of kiosk ordering has been a hit, with the majority of consumers, according to one McDonald’s franchisee, preferring to place orders in this fashion rather than give them to a person behind the counter.

John Lardas, a franchisee who tested kiosks in his St. Charles, Ill. McDonald’s, told Reuters 70 percent of customers in the restaurant are using the ordering technology.

“You see no lines because people are spreading themselves out,” he said.

Mr. Lardas’ restaurant has four stand-alone kiosks in addition to a traditional front counter with one ordering station. Customers are able to place orders on the kiosks using a touch screen. Orders are directly transmitted to the kitchen with the customer’s request for additional pickles, no onions, etc.

Christa Small, the McDonald’s director heading the kiosk test said, “The customer perception is that it’s a better experience. It’s the perception that you have control over the process.”

Moderator’s Comment: How widespread do you expect kiosk technology to become in foodservice and retail environments?
What will it mean for consumers, employers and restaurant/store employees?

Harry Balzer, vice president, NPD Group has it right. “It’s about time and lines,” he said. “We are looking for the easiest way to feed ourselves.”

He could have also added “shop for ourselves.” The use of self-scanning/checkout technology and kiosk ordering systems being tested by companies from Albertsons
to Wawa promises to reshape the foodservice and retail experience.

John Lardas says the use of the kiosk technology has not meant a loss of jobs. Workers who previously worked behind the counter now deliver food to customers
and assist those who need it with kiosk ordering.

George Anderson – Moderator

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