Steve Easterbrook, President of McDonald’s European operations, has announced the expansion of the company’s self-service offerings in Europe by installing touchscreen kiosks in 7,000 of its locations. The move is reported to be in response to an ordering system which hasn’t changed in “30 to 40 years.”
In this shake-up of ordering and payment methods, the company is also set to become the first major fast-food chain to commit to introducing contactless payments. In the UK, for example, customers will be able to pay simply by swiping an enabled debit card. Plus, in 1200 of the UK locations, staff will be hired to take additional orders from customers via handheld terminals.
Mr Easterbrook commented that the changes will make life easier for consumers as well as improve efficiency. He expects average transaction times for its 2 million daily customers will shorten by three to four seconds. The technology will also help Macdonald’s to gain more awareness of customers’ ordering and dining habits.
No stranger to self-service, the restaurant chain has already installed more than 840 kiosks made by Wincor Nixdorf and Acrelec throughout Europe, with the vast majority in France.
Of course, with the news of this vast self-service deployment comes doubt about job security. Apparently however, McDonald's Europe has no plans of cutting employee numbers despite recent media speculation predicting that the self-ordering kiosks would replace human jobs.
Reports tell us that the company still see the traditional front counter as a focal point of service, and, much like the self-checkout areas in larger supermarkets, there is to be staff on hand to assist customers using the kiosks. The restaurant also relies on workers to prepare the food, assemble it up front and deliver it to customers waiting at the counter.
Look out for more news around this story as we talk to Wincor about its involvement in the Macdonald’s deployment.