McDonald’s Fast Forwards to the Future

Aug 06, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

McDonald’s store of the future is being tested, right now, in a lab approximately 15 miles from the company’s headquarters, reports the Associated Press.

The future store includes self-service kiosks, robotic meal preparation and store employees freed up to take care of customers.

McDonald’s chairman and chief executive officer, Jim Cantalupo, is looking to put the chain back on the course it was charting when it recorded 45 straight quarterly sales and profit increases.

The concepts tested in the company’s lab (Core Innovation Center) may eventually make their way into McDonald’s restaurants everywhere. The technologies cited as being most promising for company-wide rollout include:

  • Self-service kiosks for consumer convenience.
  • Automated vertical grills that reduce labor costs and give staff more time to interact with customers.
  • A robotic method for the preparation of French fries also intended to reduce labor costs and provide more precise quality control.

Moderator’s Comment: Will (or should) the use of new technologies such as those described in the Associated Press
report change McDonald’s approach to hiring and training restaurant associates?

More time spent with customers will require better product knowledge and interpersonal skills than those displayed by the typical fast food restaurant worker.
Anderson – Moderator

McDonald’s gives hints of restaurant vision
for future – Associated Press/Chicago Tribune

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