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McDonald's Hits All-Time High As Wall Street Cheers Replacement of Cashiers With Kiosks (cnbc.com) 632

McDonald's is expected to increase its sales via new digital ordering kiosks that will replace cashiers in 2,500 restaurants. As a result, the company's shares hit an all-time high, rallying 26 percent this year through Monday. CNBC reports: Andrew Charles from Cowen cited plans for the restaurant chain to roll out mobile ordering across 14,000 U.S. locations by the end of 2017. The technology upgrades, part of what McDonald's calls "Experience of the Future," includes digital ordering kiosks that will be offered in 2,500 restaurants by the end of the year and table delivery. "MCD is cultivating a digital platform through mobile ordering and Experience of the Future (EOTF), an in-store technological overhaul most conspicuous through kiosk ordering and table delivery," Charles wrote in a note to clients Tuesday. "Our analysis suggests efforts should bear fruit in 2018 with a combined 130 bps [basis points] contribution to U.S. comps [comparable sales]." He raised his 2018 U.S. same store sales growth estimate for the fast-food chain to 3 percent from 2 percent.
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McDonald's Hits All-Time High As Wall Street Cheers Replacement of Cashiers With Kiosks

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  • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Thursday June 22, 2017 @08:29PM (#54672109)

    Running Windows XP Embedded, and connected to the internet for convenient maintenance. What could possibly go wrong?

    • Re:Let me guess.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 22, 2017 @08:41PM (#54672167)

      Seriously, this^

      Wall street is the only part of the country that would cheer the loss of jobs.

      • Re:Let me guess.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday June 22, 2017 @08:53PM (#54672251)

        Wall street is the only part of the country that would cheer the loss of jobs.

        Everybody should cheer. The purpose of economic activity is to create goods and services, not "keeping people busy". If the same number of burgers can be delivered with less labor, that is a GOOD THING.

        As the cost of production is reduced, some combination of the customers, franchisees, and shareholders will have more money to spend on other things, generating jobs elsewhere in the economy. For more insight on why pointless make-work jobs are NOT "good for the economy", you can read The Parable of the Broken Window [wikipedia.org].

        • This argument only leads to the inevitable. Eventually Only shareholders will have "more money" to spend on other things once everything gets automated.. Most of the economy is not driven by shareholders unfortunately. And the more money going to shareholders to buy "other things" is offset by less money going to workers to buy other things which can lead to more dependence on government hand outs.
          • Eventually Only shareholders will have "more money" to spend

            In a competitive market (and fast food is competitive) most of the cost savings will go to the customer, not the shareholders. Historically, this is what has almost always happened.

            Henry Ford got rich by automating automobile manufacturing, but far more money was saved by his customers when the cost of a car went from over $10,000 for hand-built cars to $850 for the first Model-T in 1908, and to only $300 by 1925.

        • I dunno. I thought we already had vending machines. MacDonalds was supposed to be a fast food joint, which actually allows you to customize your order and have face-to-face service.

        • Re:Let me guess.. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by skam240 ( 789197 ) on Thursday June 22, 2017 @10:52PM (#54672985)

          Increased productivity is generally a good thing but I take issue with this point

          "As the cost of production is reduced, some combination of the customers, franchisees, and shareholders will have more money to spend on other things, generating jobs elsewhere in the economy. "

          Currently we have an unprecedented amount of capital accumulated at the top (within major corporations and the wealthiest few) that is most certainly not generating more jobs. Much of it is just sitting around accumulating interest. This is why we have a stock market so out of wack with our country's current level of prosperity. I fail to see how these interests having even more money will help generate jobs.

          If you actually want to generate jobs in a scenario like we are currently in you want the people at the bottom to have more money because they are going to go right out there and spend that money (being poor means you have a shortage of capital to spend which makes it is virtually assured they will be spending the money rather then saving it which generates far less economic activity) thus generating a greater demand for goods and services. The affluent and our major corporations generally all have enough capital to generate an epic amount of jobs, they don't do so because there's no demand for the goods and service these jobs would be providing.

          Now before people get crazy on me I'll just add on here that this does not make the super rich or major corporations "bad guys" by any stretch, I'm just explaining our current reality and how capitalism works.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        Wall street is the only part of the country that would cheer the loss of jobs.

        I'm not so sure about that. The McD's near me at work changed to kiosks, and I can swear all the people who used to be at the cashier are now working inside putting food and orders together.

        They went with the kiosks because they were busy and there were always long lines to take orders practically all the time. Now the lines are much shorter and there appears to be more people behind the counter. Oddly enough, there are still 3 ca

  • by toonces33 ( 841696 ) on Thursday June 22, 2017 @08:31PM (#54672123)
    I could use some EXTRA BIG ASS FRIES right now.
  • And in other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sheramil ( 921315 ) on Thursday June 22, 2017 @08:33PM (#54672135)
    Everyone else on Earth cheers as Wall Street replaced with algorithms capable of morality, compassion and empathy.
  • by Pezbian ( 1641885 ) on Thursday June 22, 2017 @08:38PM (#54672149)

    Everything's moving this direction. I remember a factory I worked at back in 2000 paid new hires $8 an hour and until recently it wasn't much more than that. Then they automated the hell out of everything with more robots than people and pay over $13 an hour to start. And this is in a town with a very low cost of living. If you can keep up with the bots, you can stay.

    • the bloody Chinese can't even do it. Also $13/hr isn't much of a raise in 17 years [bls.gov].
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Pezbian ( 1641885 )

        Also $13/hr isn't much of a raise in 17 years [bls.gov].

        Depends on where you live. In 2000, you could live pretty well on $10 an hour. You still can today.

        It's worth mentioning that jobs at that factory average out to more than just 40 hours a week, due to the way shifts are structured. Adjusting the same to a 40 hour week would yield an hourly wage of just under $15. On top of that, they tend to have overtime here and there.

  • by sunking2 ( 521698 ) on Thursday June 22, 2017 @08:39PM (#54672159)
    Spent a month in Madrid and they have them there. Unless you eat at McDonalds way too much per person they are definitely a lot slower. However you can easily have 3 times as many as cashiers. The problem I see is similar to if you've ever seen a 65 year old try to use those touch screen Coke fountain drink machines that give you every combination on Earth. Old people won't like them. I also don't know that it eliminates all that many jobs. It seemed to me that they had just as many people, they were just expediting orders. Not saying they won't work, but questioning them being worthy of a stock boost.
    • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

      Old people, when they eat out, typically do so at 4pm in the afternoon far away from normal rush hour

    • I saw the inside of one of those Coke machines once when they were servicing it - the thing reminded me of a giant ink-jet printer. There were tons of cartridges with the various flavors and whatnot. Others have posted pictures: http://moriartys.net/2011/03/p... [moriartys.net] I have no doubt that they are gouged as much on those flavor cartridges as people are in ink-jet cartridges. It all seems rather pointless to me.
      • Coke actually hired Dean Kamen to work the project, presumably for his experience in the medical medication field, though more so for the publicity. He agreed to do it in exchange for Coke helping support his clean water in Africa initiative.
    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Thursday June 22, 2017 @09:51PM (#54672599)
      If you spend a month in Europe and eat at McDonald's you're doing it wrong.
      • by starless ( 60879 )

        If you spend a month in Europe and eat at McDonald's you're doing it wrong.

        My British sister and her young kids (7 and 9) visited my partner and me in Paris - McDonald's was the only place
        they liked to eat. At any other place the kids objected because the food wasn't like they were used to back home.
        That even included pizza and Indian food.

      • Why do foodies always assume everyone else cares about food as much as they do? If I had infinite amounts of money and time, I might not eat fast food ever again, maybe. But I don't and I'd rather eat at McDs than spend more time and money on stuff that my body is just going to turn into literal shit anyway.

        If you spend unnecessary time and money on a vacation to Europe on FOOD, you're doing it wrong.
  • by swell ( 195815 ) <jabberwock&poetic,com> on Thursday June 22, 2017 @08:42PM (#54672175)

    Several fast food chains had those kiosks many years ago. They were ignored by customers who went to the counter anyway. This excites investors because they have never been in a fast food joint. They didn't see the failed system of the past. They have no clue how efficient current employees are. They think that laying off employees is the road to big profit.

    Does anybody here see a future where food and drinks served by robots will be more attractive than what we have now? Isn't the personal service a large part of why we go out to eat and drink?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 22, 2017 @08:57PM (#54672263)

      Personal service (and food presentation/quality) can certainly be a large part of why people go out to eat and drink - at proper restaurants.

      At fast food (aka "gimme my awful, disgusting tasting, but dirt cheap burger right now!") - not so much.

      • Perhaps in the future, eating out will be so economically untenable that only the ultra-wealthy will do it, and most people will prepare their own food. So, sorta like it was for all of human history until just recently. The horror...
    • Isn't the personal service a large part of why we go out to eat and drink?

      Depending on the location and time of day, 50-70% of McDonald's customers use the drive-thru window. They aren't there for the human connection.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Isn't the personal service a large part of why we go out to eat and drink?

      No. I go out to eat and drink for a change of scenery to clear my mind. I use self checkout machines whenever possible and I wish every store and restaurant would offer them, because I don't like the sense of social obligation involved in the personal service experience. If I'm hungry or tired or preoccupied, I'm liable to be grumpy, and I don't want to deal with a superficial social interaction under those circumstances. Machines don't try to make small talk, machines don't expect to be tipped, and mach

    • Isn't the personal service a large part of why we go out to eat and drink?

      No

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday June 22, 2017 @09:25PM (#54672439) Homepage

      Isn't the personal service a large part of why we go out to eat and drink?

      What personal service?
      "I'll have a <size> <menu> with <soda>"
      "Anything else?"
      "No, that's it"
      "That'll be <price>"
      *pay*
      *wait*
      *eat*
      *leave*

      If you go to a fast food joint it's probably because:
      a) You're socializing with somebody not on the payroll
      b) You're hungry and want a cheap, quick bite
      c) You can't be arsed to cook, serve and clean
      d) You're far from home and need to eat out

      None of those particularly need a human element, sure it's practical... but if you added even a tiny service fee for a human to do it, I think you'd see 95% self-service orders.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Solandri ( 704621 )

      They have no clue how efficient current employees are. They think that laying off employees is the road to big profit.

      Employees are more efficient and cost-effective than kiosks.

      Until the city passes a $15 minimum wage. Then suddenly kiosks become more cost-effective than minimum wage employees.

    • by swell ( 195815 )

      In my fashionable neighborhood is a score of restaurants, a dozen nightclubs, 8 coffee shops, half dozen pizza & taco joints, and 1 (one) McDonalds. None of these places would survive without human servers. Not too many loner geeks or terrorists here, just fun loving people out for a good time. They're spending $30 and up for a meal, more for a night's drinking, and even at McDonalds they expect to see real humans behind the counter when they stop for their sobering up snack.

      McDonalds is a small part of

    • This type of thing is a proven technology. We have had grocery store checkout kiosks for years in my area. Who prefers waiting in lines to a few button presses?

  • Automation always creates more jobs than are lost.

    Ummm, okay. What are those jobs?

    Maybe everyone will be bosses.

  • The cashier kiosks could be extended to fully automated McDonalds restaurants. Only the cleaners would survive it a bit longer, perhaps. So be good and get to your nearest JC to train as robot fixer.

  • Sounds like an idea for a Monty Python skit or maybe Saturday Night live. Can't wait. Perhaps I missed the skits.
  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Thursday June 22, 2017 @08:56PM (#54672261)

    Then we could get rid of all the tellers at banks!

    Someone should make this.

  • Seriously, nearly every McDonalds around here has these kiosks

  • by mykepredko ( 40154 ) on Thursday June 22, 2017 @09:08PM (#54672337) Homepage

    We've had the kiosks in Canadian McDonald's for at least a year now and:
    - It's a much nicer way to order, no lines and no shouting to be heard
    - No worries that the clerk screws up your order
    - There doesn't seem to be less staff behind the counter, just more of them filling orders rather than taking them
    Overall, it works well enough that we prefer going to McDonald's.

    When it comes to dining payment technology, it seems like Canada is light years away (as well as well into the future) than the US. Payment is made at the table with chip reading cards that take debit or credit and we have had the McDonald's kiosks and Canada's economy hasn't collapsed.

    Yet when these things are talked about in the US, it seems like they are job killing ideas coming from the devil himself.

    • I don't eat at McDonald's but the Panera's Bread down the street has these kiosks and I've pretty much defaulted to using them every time I go. There's never a line, despite there usually being several people waiting for a cashier. The touch screen thing is just an iPad recessed into a plastic holder running some custom ordering software. If this is the future of fast food, count me in.

  • Why a kiosk (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    When you can just order through an app?

    I don't understand the desire to install all this infrastructure. A group of friends could scan the barcode on their table and all order separately and at the same time.

    Also don't get why Chili's put in ziosk. Just use an app!

  • And if one wants to pay in cash? Here is the middle finger?

    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
      Pay in CASH? What are you, some sort of fucking drug dealer? Sarcasm, but this is the way we're headed apparently.
  • Why not go all the way? Give me an app so I can order AND pay from my phone. Save them the cost of the kiosks and save me from wasting time queuing for a kiosk.

    Show me how long it would take for the order, so I can order even before I go there, and arrive just in time to pick it up.

  • What would you expect from a fast food store?
    A slow ordering system? NO.

    The ordering menu should come up with a simple, single page order form.
    So if I want a Big Mac with coke. I press two buttons on the top page and do the payment. BEEP. Then I go waiting for my food.

    If people want to fine tune their order, they might go to a detail ordering page to adjust.

    The order system in our area now requires pressing the touch screen and go through a few pages. I think that is not necessary. As a result, I igno

  • Good! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by slasher999 ( 513533 ) on Thursday June 22, 2017 @10:01PM (#54672673)

    There's your $15/hour minimum wage. Certain groups wanted this, now here it is. Good luck kids getting that first job to learn how to have a job so you can go out and get a real one.

    • by Alioth ( 221270 )

      If you think this is a consequence of an increased minimum wage, you're dead wrong.

      The kiosks will at most have a TCO of about 50 cents an hour. Unless you advocate reducing minimum wage to under 50 cents an hour, the minimum wage has absolutely no bearing on whether these kiosks go in or not: they are inevitable.

      Further more, at least the one McDonald's store we have here, headcount *has not been reduced*. The kiosks have gone in but they still employ the same number of staff except now they use those staf

  • by Mr307 ( 49185 ) on Thursday June 22, 2017 @10:58PM (#54673005)

    Ticket style, vending machine style, and probably kiosks too, who knows.

    I'm not sure how long this has been common there but it seems like quite a while.

    Random sample:
    http://jpninfo.com/31417 [jpninfo.com]

  • Seriously, it is LONG past time for America to refocus on automating our lower-end work, like we used to. Oddly, starting with reagan and esp during W's time, we have been instead focused on using illegal labor to replace American labor. That has created one of the nightmares that America is suffering in.
    A good example of robotic need would be animal husbandry for dairy and other farms. A lot of that labor is devoted to simple mucking out the stalls. That is easily automated.
  • by peppepz ( 1311345 ) on Friday June 23, 2017 @12:35AM (#54673401)
    It seems that technology is little by little erasing every daily occasion of interaction with other humans that we still have. I don't want to sound like a luddite, but I must admit that I'm a bit worried that in the long run this process is going to make humans less and less able to interact with each other; which is a problem, because in the end we are social animals, we literally die without some form of exchange with other members of our species.

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