McDonald's Europe expects kiosks to increase jobs
McDonald's Europe has no plans of cutting employees despite recent media reports predicting that its wide deployment of self-ordering kiosks would replace human jobs.
The restaurant chain has installed more than 840 kiosks made by Wincor Nixdorf and Acrelec throughout Europethe vast majority in France.
"Self-order kiosks are not designed to replace front-counter service, a spokesman for Mcdonald's Europe said in an email. "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."
Deploying kiosks in European McDonald's wasn't about cutting costs. The point was to provide better customer service, and because staff members are still there to take orders or help customers maneuver the kiosks, McDonald's officials aren't worried about a learning curve or losing sales to people who aren't comfortable with technology.
"Self-order kiosks are not intended to reduce the number of staff in our restaurants, and overall staff numbers have not reduced in the restaurants where they have been installed," the spokesman said. "In fact, we expect overall staff numbers at these restaurants to increase as the business grows."
That has been the exact experience of Michael Verdeska, interim-CIO and division vice president of Jack in the Box, since the chain rolled out more than 200 kiosks throughout its restaurants in the United States.
"We actually do not take any labor out of the restaurant," Verdeska said. "In our labor guide for restaurants that have kiosks, we want those restaurants to redeploy that labor to actually produce more food, which we do see in busy restaurants. We have actually increased the output of restaurants by having kiosks there, so managers actually end up getting more labor."
McDonald's Europe expects similar results. Besides helping consumers unfamiliar with kiosks learn to operate them, the restaurant also relies on workers to prepare the food, assemble it up front and deliver it to customers waiting at the counter.
The kiosks "give customers the opportunity to take the time that they need to consider and place their order," the spokesman wrote. "This is based on feedback from some customers that (said) they would appreciate more time during the ordering process."
McDonald's Europe has more than 840 touch-screen kiosks that guide consumers through the menu. They accept credit card payment, but no cash. However, the spokesman confirmed that contactless payments will be introduced to all McDonald's restaurants in the UK by next month.
What about the drive-thru?
Although the drive-thru doesn't technically use kiosks, it relies on a technology called Customer Order Displays.
They "allow customers to speak with our staff at an early point in the drive-thru lane and allow our staff to take the order and start preparing it even before the car pulls up to the first window," the spokesman wrote. "The monitor of the Customer Order Display also allows the customers to check that their order is correct before they confirm it to our staff."
Kiosks coming to America?
Although McDonald's Europe is evaluating kiosks in other countries, American McDonald's aren't following suit.
"While we have tested kiosks in the past, it's not currently being considered in the U.S.," said Ashlee Yingling, a spokesman for U.S. McDonald's.
Click hereto see a slideshow of McDonald's Europe kiosks
Companies: Wincor World