Call Centers May Handle McDonald's Orders

craigdawg

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 8, 2004
360
0
Sactown

buryyourbrideau

macrumors 65816
Mar 1, 2005
1,212
0
Chicago
figures it would be in oak brook,IL which is a pretty rich suburb of CHI. the first time i was ever there they asked me if i wanted to pay by check, credit card or cash and i seriously like started laughing and the teenage girl gave me a really confused look, i mean seriously why would you want to buy a 5 dollar meal on a credit card or write a check ? :confused:
 

PixelFactory

macrumors regular
Jun 6, 2003
233
0
Chicago
buryyourbrideau said:
figures it would be in oak brook,IL which is a pretty rich suburb of CHI. the first time i was ever there they asked me if i wanted to pay by check, credit card or cash and i seriously like started laughing and the teenage girl gave me a really confused look, i mean seriously why would you want to buy a 5 dollar meal on a credit card or write a check ? :confused:
Oakbrook is where McDonalds is headquartered. Per the aricle, they are testing it in the Pacific Northwest.
 

PixelFactory

macrumors regular
Jun 6, 2003
233
0
Chicago
Lord Blackadder said:
Good lord, what's next? A fully automated McDonald's? (don't laugh)
My dad worked at corporate as an electrical engineer during the 70's and early 80's. They were working on touch sensitive displays for the drive thu before he was downsized. It wouldn't suprise me if they implemented in the future.
 

Raid

macrumors 68020
Feb 18, 2003
2,144
3,925
Toronto
"If you're in L.A. and you hear a person ... with a North Dakota accent taking your order, you'll know what we're up to," McDonald's Chief Executive Officer Jim Skinner said during a presentation to analysts Thursday in New York.
under his breath he was heard to say... were training our call centre staff in India to speak with a Dakota accent. :rolleyes:

virividox said:
people my start complaining they cant understand their order being repeated back to them !!!
.... yeah somehow I'm feeling this is related to my comment above. ;) :D
 

rainman::|:|

macrumors 603
Feb 2, 2002
5,438
2
iowa
McD's has tested several machines over the years that are capable of basically producing any sandwich, it's sort of like the U-scan checkout registers at stores. The long-term goal seems to be totally automated McDonalds, I remember reading articles a few years back that claimed McD wants it's staff cut down to a stocker and a robotic technician... two shifts, each store would employ 4 people total. Guessing that would cut a LOT out of their overhead, enough to more than pay for the machinery...

FWIW, I hope they at least hire someone to randomly spit in the food, otherwise it just won't be mcdonalds.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,378
110
Location Location Location
Its stupid because its very difficult to get the order wrong, especially in Canada. They list everything you ordered on a screen. Maybe they should think about hiring competent people who can put a Quarter Pounder in a bag when the order screen flashes "Quarter Pounder".

Sounds more like human error than an error in the way their system worked.
 

Lacero

macrumors 604
Jan 20, 2005
6,639
2
LOL. After watching Super Size Me, I don't think I'll be visiting McDonald's or any fast food joint for a long time. :D
 

OldManJimbo

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2004
416
1
California Coast
This has been in practice since at least 2003 - here's a newsletter I wrote my clients on the topic in February of this year:

Market Intelligence - February 2005


"Finally, Fast Food Over the Internet"

In my consulting practice, clients depend on me to help them "find new ways to do things" and I am always on the lookout for examples of companies doing things differently (or doing different things). I find that stories of "other people" coloring outside the lines can spur my clients to think of ways they can take similar steps in their operation. When we see someone else do something out of the ordinary, it gives us permission to break the rules, too.

So - imagine my delight at reading of a new application of technology being employed by fast food restaurants. High tech and fast food - two of my favorite things.

Savvy fast food operators have started using broadband Internet connections to set up remote order-taking centers. At fast food drive-ups all across the country, hungry folk are giving their orders to an order-taker sitting in front of a computer screen on the other side of the country.

A McDonald's franchise owner started using the concept in 2003 at his 15 Colorado stores and Hardee's, the St. Louis-based burger chain, began a test in December of 2004. The Dallas Morning News says Pizza Hut and Chuck E. Cheese are migrating local telephone calls to national centers. One firm even provides phone center people with information on landmarks near each store so agents can answer questions from local callers.

So - what can you do with this?

I could suggest that you "look for ways to apply technology in a similar*manner*in your business." But that would be far too easy - and obvious.

Here is what I want you to do - At your next staff meeting, share this story with your managers and ask these questions:

1 - What is motivating restaurant owners to install this new technology? Is it a way to lower labor costs? Improve customer service? Reduce errors? Something else?
2 - What other business models could make use of an idea like this?*
3 - Are you surprised that fast foodies are doing this? Is there someone in your industry who might be the next to try a similar application?

The purpose of the discussion is not to examine the fast food industry or to marvel at a new use of technology. I want your team to "practice the future." I find that organizations who collectively spend time imagining what the future might look like are much more able to contend with change as it develops around them.

Let me know how it goes.

Jim Seybert
http://www.jimseybert.com


---
 

KD7IWP

macrumors 6502a
Mar 8, 2004
648
2
American living in Canada
Ha, you think a credit card is weird at McD?

I've worked there for four years now. People pay us with rolls of coins, travelers checks, regular checks, cash, debit... only thing I haven't gotten yet is a money order or cashier's check :) I agree that it is weird for a $5 order, but lots of others don't think that. The best is when they open their purse and dump a load of change on the counter and take 5 minutes to count it. Or you get an obese woman that comes in and takes 5 minutes to order, then reaches down her shirt and pulls out a fat wallet. That was one of the most intimidating moments of my life.
 

acedickson

macrumors 6502a
Dec 6, 2004
727
0
ATL
It won't be too long before your order is totally automated, i.e. the automated phone systems with voice recognition. It'll display your order, as it already does, on the displays. That'll cut out the call center use.
 

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Aug 10, 2004
2,702
2
paulwhannel said:
FWIW, I hope they at least hire someone to randomly spit in the food, otherwise it just won't be mcdonalds.
ROFLOL, Now that was funny, and purely cynical! :p
 

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Aug 10, 2004
2,702
2
Abstract said:
Its stupid because its very difficult to get the order wrong, especially in Canada. They list everything you ordered on a screen. Maybe they should think about hiring competent people who can put a Quarter Pounder in a bag when the order screen flashes "Quarter Pounder".

Sounds more like human error than an error in the way their system worked.
That is the problem at one the kids make me drag them through. They have a 100% health dept score, but can't get the right food in the bag. I am now the jerk holding up the line inventoring the bag while the window person rolls their eyes at me. I catch a mistake on one in three, then I roll my eyes back!

acedickson said:
It won't be too long before your order is totally automated, i.e. the automated phone systems with voice recognition. It'll display your order, as it already does, on the displays. That'll cut out the call center use.
yes and if they automate with windows they will get rid of 2 cooks and add 4 IT people.
 

wdlove

macrumors P6
Oct 20, 2002
16,570
0
I heard about this on a new magazine program. It sounds very efficient. The idea is to allow was McDonald's store to just focus on serving the customer. According to them is allows for faster service to the customer. Most didn't even realize that they were speaking to an order person hundreds of miles away.
 

Lacero

macrumors 604
Jan 20, 2005
6,639
2
"Would you like curry with your fries?"

In an effort to save on costs, McDonald's is using India's cheap labor force to handle customers' orders. :D
 

Apple Hobo

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2004
795
0
A series of tubes
buryyourbrideau said:
figures it would be in oak brook,IL which is a pretty rich suburb of CHI. the first time i was ever there they asked me if i wanted to pay by check, credit card or cash and i seriously like started laughing and the teenage girl gave me a really confused look, i mean seriously why would you want to buy a 5 dollar meal on a credit card or write a check ? :confused:
I'd love to pay 20%APR on a Big Mac! :rolleyes:
 

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Aug 10, 2004
2,702
2
Apple Hobo said:
I'd love to pay 20%APR on a Big Mac! :rolleyes:
ya but it only cost about $.06 per month at $3.00/bigmac. One a day for a month = 30x3=$90.00 or a min payment of $1.80! :p
 

Xenious

macrumors 6502a
Mar 22, 2004
674
41
Texas, USA
buryyourbrideau said:
figures it would be in oak brook,IL which is a pretty rich suburb of CHI. the first time i was ever there they asked me if i wanted to pay by check, credit card or cash and i seriously like started laughing and the teenage girl gave me a really confused look, i mean seriously why would you want to buy a 5 dollar meal on a credit card or write a check ? :confused:
I use my credit card (actually a check card) everywhere. It annoys me to have to get cash to go to McD's (and pay a nice ATM fee) when almost all other restaurants take visa/MC. The point would be to not have to carry cash, not to defer the $5 meal for 30 days and pay it off. Heck I use my check card at work to buy a soda in the cafeteria. ;)
 

Makosuke

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2001
6,150
341
The Cool Part of CA, USA
I really don't get this. As screwed-up as I find the whole concept of the drive-thru at McD's, how on earth does paying somebody five states away to speak through an unintelligible microphone work better than just having a freakin' touch screen with the menu on it? It's not like McDonald's has such a large and ever-changing menu that people need an order-taker to explain what's on a Big Mac. Maybe it really is more efficient to have a person on the other end, but I'd much rather just push the "McChiken" button three times than have to explain it.

Of course, what I'd actually rather do is walk into my local burger chain and watch them grill beef from grass-fed cows that live 30 miles south of here after I place my order. I might pay 50 cents more for the burger, but it tastes a whole lot better and the person making it is less likely to have peed on the vaccum packed lettuce.
 

OldManJimbo

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2004
416
1
California Coast
Makosuke said:
I really don't get this. [H]ow on earth does paying somebody five states away to speak through an unintelligible microphone work better than just having a freakin' touch screen with the menu on it?
Quite simple actually - by centralizing their operation, they can spread the expense over a larger base and hire people who are trained to up-sell customers, as in "would you like Fries with your order." The incremental boost in sales will more than pay for the infrastructure enhancements and higher wage paid the order takers.

Case studies have shown that customers at restaurants using this remote system are more satisfied with the experience because the person taking their order had excellent communication skills.

Be careful and try to avoid allowing your personal preference for quality food [with which I agree] to cloud reasonable consideration of a good idea. You may not like McD's food - can't blame you - but this has nothing to do with their food and everything to do with using technology to improve customer service.
 

craigdawg

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 8, 2004
360
0
Sactown
OldManJimbo said:
Case studies have shown that customers at restaurants using this remote system are more satisfied with the experience because the person taking their order had excellent communication skills.
This is still not good enough. I will not be satisfied until they deploy mind-probing robots that can take my order telepathically. :D

McRobot: "You know you want to Super Size it craigdawg. It's only $.40 more. Go for it man."

craigdawg (thinking to himself): "Alright! Get out of my mind. Stupid mind-probing robot."

McRobot: "I heard that."
 

Inspector Lee

macrumors 6502a
Jan 24, 2004
590
0
East Lansing, MI
There was a McDees in Leslie, MI a few years ago that had some kind of device set up at each table where you either spoke your order or touch-screened it. I think they were product-testing. If they can set something up like a u-scan which takes cash, plastic what have you and spits change, it eliminates the counter people which saves $$$.