The concept of man vs. machines has been going on for years but only recently has it been catapulted to the forefront of mainstream media when President Obama took a swipe at kiosks and ATMs for world-wide unemployment numbers.
But yet this follows reports by McDonalds that despite deploying hundreds of kiosks across its branches throughout Europe it has no plans to cut employees.
The U.S President sat down in a Today show interview with Ann Curry a couple of weeks ago and slated the touch screen technology by saying how it had contributed to the nation’s unemployment figures.
But yet the restaurant chain has announced that reports predicting its wide deployment of self-service kiosks would replace human jobs- are false.
A spokesperson for McDonald’s Europe said: “Self-order kiosks are not designed to replace front-counter service.
“Front counters remain a focal point of service where we have installed self-order kiosks, and customers can decide whether they wish to place their order at the counter or through kiosks. Staff are on hand in the dining area to assist customers using the kiosks.”
The fast food giant has installed more than 840 kiosks throughout Europe including France and the UK.
The spokesperson continued that deploying the kiosks wasn’t about cutting costs but rather to provide better customer service. McDonald’s explain that the kiosks are no intended to reduce staff numbers and in fact they expect overall staff figures at the restaurants to increase as the business grows.
They added that the restaurant relies on workers to man the machines and help customers unfamiliar with the kiosks on how to operate them as well as prepare food, assemble the order and deliver it to waiting customers.
The spokesman added: that the kiosks “give customers the opportunity to take the time that they need to consider and place their order…based on feedback from some customers that (said) they would appreciate more time during the ordering process.”
The fast food industry is one of the quick service sectors to gain the most from deploying kiosk systems; to reduce waiting times and put the power in the consumer’s hands.
Restaurant and take-away firms such as Subway, McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC would benefit immensely from installing touch screen units that would enable the customer to place and pay for their own order via the interface.
Until now, kiosks haven’t really taken off in the UK as much as it has in America or other parts of Europe; that is in the fast food industry. A consumer could only order their chicken nuggets and happy meal deal from self-service kiosks in McDonald’s if they lived in France, where the concept was initially launched. However, now McDonald’s UK is embracing the technology.
The fast food giant is employing 7,000 touch screen terminals and swipe cards across its European outlets.
Steve Easterbrook, President of McDonald’s Europe, said the changes will make life easier for consumers as well as improves efficiency. He expects average transaction times for its two million daily customers will shorten three to four seconds.
The technology aids to harness more information on customer’s ordering and dining habits as well as enable customers to pay simply by swiping a debit card; making the company the first fast food chain to introduce contactless payments.
In 1200 of the UK locations, staff will also be hired to take additional orders from customers via handheld terminals.
- Control of ordering process leads to better accuracy
- Single point of administration and reporting, hassle-free.
- Management costs are low, integration is easier than ever.
- New product placement exposes variety of menu and increases sales.