McDonald's has opened a new store – and it's like nothing you've seen from the popular fast-food chain. A pioneer of the drive-thru concept, Macca's is testing the waters for a speedier way of serving burgers and fries in a futuristic takeaway site located in Fort Worth, Texas.
A food blogger gave McDonald's fans a sneak peek into the fast food giant's concept store through a short TikTok that reveals an automated drive-thru and an order kiosk inside a small, bare serving space with no option for dining in. "People of TikTok – the way we 'McDonald's' may be changing forever. Check this out," the man says in the viral video.
Conveyor belts replace cashiers
Taking a different approach to the McDonald's restaurant model, the new small-format store is exclusively for grab-and-go orders. Food and beverages arrive on a conveyor belt and there is a delivery pick-up room for mobile orders.
It also has an order-ahead lane that has customer location tracking via a Macca's app that will allow employees to begin preparing orders when the customer is close.
The store also has dedicated parking spaces for curbside pick-up and designated spots for delivery drivers. Inside, kiosks are set up for new orders. It also has a kitchen, a room for placing take-away orders and a room for delivery drivers.
The technology in the store is aimed at improving efficiency and gives employees the ability to focus on the accuracy and speed of orders. "At McDonald's, we've been setting the standard for drive-thrus for more than 45 years," McDonald's senior director of global design and restaurant development Max Carmona said in a statement.
"As our customers' needs continue to change, we are committed to finding new ways to serve them faster and easier than ever before."
New McDonald's store divides fans
The footage, which has already garnered 1.2 million views and over 10,000 comments since it was posted earlier this week, earned both praise and condemnation from Macca's fans. Many viewers voiced their concern about the impact the new technology would have on employment opportunities, some even calling for a boycott, while others are happy it could improve speed and accuracy.
"Well, there goes millions of jobs," commented one viewer, and another asked, "Nobody realising what this will do to the job market once every company implements this?"
Meanwhile those who see the concept as an inevitable advancement were more accepting of the change. "Automation will be at every fast-food restaurant eventually," commented one, while someone else joked, "Who are all the Karens supposed to scream at now? The robots?"
McDonald's isn't the only brand looking at new ways to serve customers faster. In the US, other fast-food chains such as Taco Bell and Burger King are also testing out smaller store formats like Macca's, while some have been increasing the number of drive-thru lanes for take-away orders.
Other restaurants have also been investing in new technology, including artificial intelligence-enabled voice ordering, to create a smoother experience for customers.
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