McDonalds is trying way too hard

mcdonaldsI went to McDonalds today. I can’t remember the last time I went into a McDonalds.

I drive through occasionally – mostly for coffee, I love their coffee! – but I haven’t been inside a McDonalds in forever.

There were two large kiosks in the lobby area that I noticed immediately.

First it was self-serve gas, then came self-serve banking. I self check-out and bag my own groceries.

And now McDonalds has self-serve ordering!

Yup! You don’t have to waste your time standing in line to tell someone what you want to eat anymore. You can do it yourself – just use the touch screen to pick out what you want and pay using whichever payment method you choose.

Innovation at it’s best?

It sounds cool but let’s call it what it is. I am now doing the job previously done by a counter person and a cashier but I’m not getting paid to do it. And there is no discount on the price of my food. No savings passed on because they no longer have to pay the counter person or cashier.

There was one cashier still available for those who didn’t trust the strange kiosk but I thought I would try it because, hey, I’m down with new technology.

It wasn’t difficult and, when I was done, I went to stand with all of the other folks waiting for their food. We all stood there with our numbered receipts waiting for our number to come up on the screen above the pick up counter.

It’s funny how excited McDonalds is with this new “line up letdown” solution. Except now, instead of standing in line waiting for our order, we are all just standing randomly around in front of the counter. Now we’re a crowd. Is a crowd better than a line?

And what happens when there is a line at the kiosk. Now we’re a line and a crowd. How long before we become a mob?

McDonalds says that this new ordering system is

going to change the dynamics of hospitality in this industry

Um. I didn’t talk to one employee during my entire ordering experience. How hospitable is that?

Oh wait, I said

Thank you.

I did chat lively with all of the other folks waiting for their order to come up. That was fun. The main topic of conversation, however, was how long we were waiting for our food.

The other thing that drove me crazy was that I couldn’t see where I was in the line. I had no idea if they were working on my order or if my receipt fell on the floor and got lost under the milkshake machine. Or maybe I was next. I love being next.

What I like about the counter service is that I place my order and then the cashier goes and collects my order. I can see her do it. She doesn’t take 6 other orders, stack them up and then go get them all. She is only taking care of me. And only when my order is complete does she move on to the next customer.

I like that. It makes me feel like I matter. It shows me that it’s important to her that I get my order as quickly as possible.

Today, I felt like a number. I was a number. We were all numbers. My number was 1003.

With their McCafé, their new exotic burger toppings like guacamole, grilled mushrooms and Sriracha sauce and their new Jetson’s style order system, McDonalds is trying so hard to become something they are not.

McDonalds a fast food burger joint. Not a café. Not a bistro. Not a patisserie and not Epcot Centre. They need to stop trying to “upscale” their restaurant because all it’s doing is upscaling” their prices.

Their new “custom” burger starts at $6.99 but gourmet toppings are extra. So, a single-patty burger with cheese, guacamole and fried mushrooms can add up quickly to $7.50. And you don’t have fries or a drink yet.

I am not opposed to paying $7.50 for a burger but NOT at McDonalds. If I’m paying that much, I want it on a plate.

how fast can you spend $500?

FYI Burger King came up with the “custom” burger 50 years ago. It was called:

hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us. All we ask is that you let us serve it your way!

If McDonalds is so worried about their declining sales, they need to stop trying to re-invent itself and just come up with another rhyme or jingle like the Big Mac one that we ALL still remember.

Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun!

My kids even know that one. For heaven’s sake, I had a pair of knee socks with it printed on them!

Now, that’s marketing!

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  1. I haven’t been at McDonald’s in a very long time. I haven’t seen this new process yet. I probably won’t either as I am so against corporations taking jobs away from people. If things keep going the way they are, pretty soon there won’t be any jobs for people that do not have the means for a higher education.

    • I am agreed on that point Brenda. My first job was in the fast food industry. That was back when you didn’t need a “resume” to apply for a minimum wage job; you just had to fill out an application.

  2. We stopped in Espanola which has the kiosk set up but ordered at the counter, it took 30 minutes to get our meal While we stood around holding our number, yet the drive through was taking about 5 minutes. Never again now it will be drive through only or possibly not at all.

    • I feel your pain Jim. If you order at the counter, you’re order is likely to end up at the end of the line of people that ordered at the kiosk. When I’m next in line, I want to know that my order is NEXT to be filled. By the way, I have long thought that the drive through orders always get priority service. I think you have just proved that.

  3. I haven’t seen that yet, however just yesterday I was told that the will, no longer be selling the folded eggs that I always subbed on the egg mcmuffin. My reply was that I guess this is the kast breakfast at McDonald’s. I can not stand to bite into egg white, yes I am picky!

    • I hadn’t heard that Laurenda, they’re going to lose a whole bunch of customers. I wonder who thought that was a wise move. Probably the same guy who came up with the kiosk idea. They need some new idea guys.

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