Blake Morgan Senior Contributor
Hungry for a quick meal but don’t want to sit down to eat it? McDonald’s has a solution. The fast food giant is known for its quick drive-thru service, but now it’s taking things a step further with a new to-go location that only serves food with no seating. Think of it as McDonald’s of the future that has the potential to revolutionize fast food and restaurants.
McDonald’s recently opened a to-go location in London.
Customers order via touchscreen kiosks and quickly pick up their food to go—there’s no seating in the restaurant.
The concept leverages technology to make ordering easier and faster.
McDonald’s is providing an option for busy customers on the go to get their food even faster than before.
The concept is already expanding to retail stores and could soon be done by other restaurants.
A Smaller McDonald’s, With Screens
Instead of being full of tables and chairs, the restaurant features touch screens for customers to order. The pilot location is London is much smaller than a typical McDonald’s. Even the menu is streamlined with only favorite items like fries, chicken nuggets and the classic Big Mac. After ordering, customers move over to the collection area, where they wait for their order. Since customers can only order through the kiosks, all human employees work on fulfilling the orders, which gets the food to customers much faster.
It’s the biggest change to McDonald’s since it introduced the drive-thru in the 1970s, and it has the potential to set the pace for a new wave of restaurants. Today’s consumers are busy and constantly on the go. They want quick, convenient solutions that cut the fluff and streamline as much as possible. But trimming the menu,
employees and seating frills, McDonald’s offers customers a quick way to get their food and get going with their busy lives. Experience locations are becoming a trend in the retail space, with stores like Walmart and Nordstrom opening pick-up only locations with a similar concept to McDonald’s to-go restaurant.
A Potential Future of Only To-Go Locations
The to-go location works on a busy London street full of professionals, city-dwellers and tourists who are anxious to fuel up and keep going. McDonald’s has yet to announce plans to expand the to-go location to other parts of the world, instead saying it is committed to the original restaurant brand while also wanting to serve customers in the best ways possible. However, if the to-go location is successful, we’ll likely see them pop up in other busy areas.
The Dangers of Too Much Technology Too Soon
Some grocers have abstained from self check out technology, and lead with the human touch. Trader Joe’s is one example that continues to lead with human service, and customer service is an attractive part of shopping this chain. Companies must be careful not to throw technology up too quickly without thinking about how you will make both employees and customers feel in the process. Walmart has implemented robots in many of its stores, and an article in the Washington Post highlighted how much both employees and customers hate the robots. With its takeout location, McDonald’s is leveraging new technology and touchscreen ordering. McDonald’s creative solution makes the technology an integral part of its business operations, which could prove incredibly successful.
Getting fast food to go could soon be a lot easier. More restaurants need to follow in McDonald’s footsteps by using new technology to think outside the box and create innovative and convenient solutions for customers.
Blake Morgan is a keynote speaker, customer experience futurist and the author of two books including her new "The Customer Of The Future." Stay in touch with her weekly on her newsletter.