In several countries McDonald’s is adding self-service modules (big touch screens) to it restaurants. Of course self-service isn’t spectaculair and new, there are complete chains of self-service restaurants on the globe. However it is interesting how McDonald’s is introducing these additional screens, and what might be more interesting in the next steps.
Introduce new technology in a human way
McDonald’s doesn’t introduce the self-service touch screen by just putting it there and hoping that you will be using it. They have some hostesses walking around and when things get busy they pick people from the queue with the question if they would like to try something new. So these hostesses are not just introducing something new to get your meal, they introduce you to something new that saves you time. Creating a very positive first interaction with the self-service screen, increasing chances that you will be using it for a second time.
Also the process is done without exchanging any physical cash, so it reduces the risk on robberies for the McDonald’s also big time.
Next step, more self-service, though what’s next after that.
Of course it is clear that more self-service is the way McDonald’s is going. Not only will people get their order faster, they have to assign fewer people to cash registers and can assign more people on the assembling of orders. Which basically means that they can pay people less because works is getting simpler.
However that is the obvious, which is in some McDonald’s already the case (I happen to visit a small McDonald’s in France and they were already 100% self-service and 100% cashless. Though what is really next. I think the following items are next:
From their screen to your screen
It would make sense for McDonald’s to transition from their touch screens to your touch screen (phone, tablet etc). This way you don’t have to wait for the self-service screen (which would be just moving the queue to a different place in their restaurant) and you can order on the screen that is most comfortable for you. Also you can pay directly via your device instead of inserting your debit or credit card into another machine. Making the process more friction free than it was before.
From up-sell to social recommendations (and beyond)
If you are allowed to use your own device for ordering, why not make it a more personalised experience and make it even more frictionless. Obvious is a login combined with a credit or debit card (or a PayPal like service) so you don’t have to enter this data over and over.
Another clear step is to add some more data to your profile, preferably using something like Facebook connect since it gives McDonald’s the most data. Based on this data they can give you suggestions to eat (since you like Mars why not take a Mc Flurry Mars as a desert) and give you suggestions to eat with friends who are in the neighbourhood or to try out that new burger since people like you (or better: your friends) tried it and rated it 4 out of 5 stars.
From self-service to drone service
Of course the limiting factor for the number of meals that can be served by McDonald’s is in the end the capacity of its restaurants for now. So why only offer the service via your personal devices in their restaurants? Why not go home delivery. No longer it is a requirement to invest in cars, scooters or drivers for these vehicles. Today you just invest in a small swarm of drones.Amazon plans to do it, a pizzeria in Mumbai is already doing it.
So why not leverage drones in combination with the GPS position of your mobile device to get your meal to you, instead of having to move yourself to a restaurant.
Change is never stand alone.
Even though it seems to be just a small change to move towards more self-service within McDonald’s restaurants, it could be a small step to a lot a big change in operating model. However change done right, could make it easier for future changes to be implemented.
As long as the changes are small enough and easy to accept and delivers a clear added value. In McDonald’s case I suggested the following: save time, create more convenience, offer better recommendations and provide independence of location.