Is McDonald’s Getting Rid Of Workers? Chain Will Add Self-Order Kiosks To 1,000 Stores Every Quarter

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Written by Ann Brown

McDonald’s is moving closer and closer to total self-service. The fast-food chain announced it plans to add self-order kiosks to 1,000 stores per quarter over the next eight to nine quarters — part of a move the company says is an effort to “build a better McDonald’s.”

McDonald’s is one of several fast-food chains and tech startups replacing workers with robots.

“International markets like Australia, Canada and the U.K. are already fully integrated with kiosk service and mobile ordering. Rumor has it that McDonald’s is also going to explore delivery services in the U.S. in an attempt to meet customer demand,” Entrepreneur reported.

McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook told CNBC on “Squawk on the Street,” “If you think about only two years ago, if you were a customer there were two ways you can get served at McDonald’s. You walked to the front counter and line up and take your drink and find a table or you go through the drive-through. We’re introducing many options. They can order through mobile, they can come curbside and we’ll run it out as well as the existing traditional ways. You can pay in different ways and customize your food in different ways. I think we’re trying to add more choice and variety.”

McDonald’s international markets are already fully integrated with kiosk service and mobile ordering, including France and Germany. “The U.S. is a little bit behind,” Easterbrook said.

Also, “McDonald’s already has a large delivery presence in Asia, which accounts for 10 percent of system sales in that market, and is hoping to capitalize on the growing industry demand by offering delivery in America. It is currently testing out several models, both in-house and via third-party providers,” CNBC reported.

Even though the fast food industry employs many Americans. Some experts say robots won’t take jobs from humans.

“The food-service and accommodation sector now employs 13.7 million Americans, up 38 percent since 2000. Since 2013, it has accounted for more jobs than manufacturing,” The Atlantic reported.

Machines doing certain tasks will allow employees to be used in other ways, some experts say.

“Business owners insist that robots will take over work that is dirty, dangerous, or just dull, enabling humans to focus on other tasks,” according to The Atlantic.

The international chain CaliBurger, for example, will soon install Flippy, a robot that can flip 150 burgers an hour. John Miller. Employees don’t like manning the hot, greasy grill, said the CEO of Cali Group, which owns the chain.

“Once the robots are sweating in the kitchen, human employees will be free to interact with customers in more-targeted ways, bringing them extra napkins and asking them how they’re enjoying their burgers.”

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Photo Credit: Flickr / Marada

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