McDonald’s opened its first automated restaurant with machines that do everything from taking orders to delivering food — and dividing opinion everywhere.
“As you enter the concept of the test restaurant, you will realize that it is significantly smaller than a traditional McDonald’s restaurant in the United States,” McDonald’s said in a statement. “Why? The features – inside and out – are geared towards customers planning to dine at home or on the go.”
The Fort Worth, Texas location uses technology to minimize human interaction when ordering and picking up food. The restaurant has an “order-ahead lane” where customers can take orders via conveyor belt, Newsweek reported.
The initiative is part of McDonald’s “Accelerating the Arches” plan, which aims to expand and innovate the customer experience, but not everyone is happy with the direction the restaurant chain is taking.
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TikTok user @foodiemunster shared a video of his experience, showing the user walking into a small but empty McDonald’s with a kiosk to order food and a conveyor belt to deliver it when it’s ready.
“There is a delivery pickup room in the restaurant for couriers to pick up orders quickly and conveniently,” McDonald’s said in its statement. “There are also kiosks where customers can place their takeaway orders and a pick-up shelf for orders.”
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“There are several curbside parking spots outside of the restaurant for picking up orders, as well as designated parking spots for delivery drivers.”
McDonald’s stressed that a restaurant crew will remain to help prepare orders, and the removal of tasks like handling the register and delivering groceries to the front line or drive-through lanes will help improve the team’s ability improve order picking.
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“The technology at this restaurant not only allows us to serve our customers in new, innovative ways, it also frees our restaurant team to focus more on the speed and accuracy of the order, making the experience more enjoyable for everyone” , explains Keith Vanecek, the franchisee who runs the test restaurant.
“I am very proud that this new restaurant concept is serving our customers in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.”
Reactions on social media showed that people did not generally agree on whether this was a positive or negative change: some people celebrated the innovation as a step towards faster and more accurate orders, others took a more cynical position and predicted that this will result in a loss of “millions of jobs.”
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“Honestly, if they pull this off, I’m just going to boycott McDonald’s. Their food is mediocre at best anyway,” said one user.
McDonald’s has not responded to a request for comment from FOX Business as of press time.