Is McDonald’s Going Fully Automated?

I would like a Big Mac with a side of non-human interaction, please.

We have all gone to a McDonald’s recently and seen the cashier counter shrinking and the massive metal behemoths they call kiosks in the middle of the waiting area. If you are a frequent drive-thru goer, you may have also seen the automatic assembly line filling your plastic cups with soda. It is the trend of stores creating more automatic systems instead of paying humans (I digress).

What if I told you that McDonald’s is possibly making hundreds of stores completely automated? It’s like being within the world of The Fifth Element movie, and you and Bruce Willis are chomping down fries given to you by a robot.

The Automated McDonald's Pilot Store

McDonald’s is piloting a new automated store in Fort Worth, Texas, that uses enhanced technology with the goal of making wait times and order accuracy seamless. The big change is seeing your McNuggets and Coke handed to you by a conveyor belt and not a human. Contrary to popular belief, the automated store still employs a team of people. The pilot store is smaller than a typical McDonald’s location as it focuses more on “to-go” diners rather than dining inside. 

The Future of Fast Food

There is no doubt that this innovation can change the game for fast food restaurants. Just look at Taco Bell with their new outrageous drive-thru concept. Although this state of technological ingenuity is impressive, it also raises flags concerning employee wages. States like Texas, where the new automated McDonald’s is located, still have a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. In the climate of fair wages and worker-focused politics, this new store concept could face backlash. Hopefully, they keep their word of staffing a team comparable to a traditional store.