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(Chicago Sun-Times)   Coming soon to a McDonald's near you: Phone in orders and zoom-thru's   ( suntimes.com) divider line
    More: Spiffy  
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8819 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Oct 2003 at 2:50 AM (13 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



63 Comments     (+0 »)
 


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2003-10-10 12:43:35 AM  
Great! Now they can get your order wrong even MORE often.
 
2003-10-10 02:54:20 AM  
wow.. i wanna be the first to prank call those mother f*ckers.
 
2003-10-10 02:57:38 AM  
Mcdonalds manager: our customers are getting to fat to
stand in line. i need suggestions
Zit faced kid: what i didnt hear you i was on my cell
 
2003-10-10 02:57:56 AM  
[image from sixsite.com too old to be available]
 
2003-10-10 02:59:32 AM  
However much I hate McDonalds overall, at least my area locations generally get my orders right. I've seen a few of them here in southern wisconsin do similar "accuracy and speed-improving things", for instance have cars form multiple lines at multiple ordering stations, give orders to staff carrying tablet PCs on a wireless network (both inside and at the drive-thru), having staff 'walking' the drive thru to take payment from cars that have exact change... it was a bit creepy the first few times I saw this all, actually. However, it has changed my initial reaction of "ug, 20 cars back... this is going to take an hour", to being able to just about roll through the entire drive-thru without stopping regardless of how many cars there are ahead of me.
 
2003-10-10 03:02:28 AM  
we have a drive-thru chickfila.. its just drivethrus on both sides.. and a walk up.. its kinda neat.. mcd's around here are generally ok.. we have 24hour mcds now.. tacobell is ok but dirty.. wendys is ok.. bk is decent.. but chickfila.. they win.
 
2003-10-10 03:02:33 AM  
"The call-center workers are trained to urge customers to buy more, so an average order is 10 to 15 cents greater under the new system than an order taken at the counter"

translation:
no sir, really, that super-size quarterpounder meal won't make you fat enough. might i suggest adding a milkshake to raise the calorie intake to 500% over the recommended level?
 
2003-10-10 03:02:53 AM  
All I can think of is the episode where Homer gets fat so he doesn't have to go to work, and he has to call the plant to warn them of an impending meltdown. "I'm sorry, the fingers you've used to dial are too fat. If you'd like to order a special dialing wand, please mash the keypad now."
 
sos
2003-10-10 03:05:23 AM  
Great, so now the time from thought of "I want crappy food" to stuffing said food in face will be cut by over one minute! Your food will be waiting for you to cram it down your throat by the time you get there!
 
2003-10-10 03:06:08 AM  
[image from worldhungeryear.org too old to be available]

Live it. Learn it. Love it.

/obvious

 
2003-10-10 03:06:39 AM  
Could you imagine placing an order on the PHONE with the typical McDonald's employee? Half of the employees at these restaurants can't understand what I'm saying when I'm in person.. 3 feet in front of them.. and ordering by number.
 
2003-10-10 03:07:33 AM  
More proof that Manna is not far away. It's a free online book written by Marshall Brain, the guy who created and runs How Stuff Works. If you are even remotely interested in computers, AI, and possible robotic replacements in the workplace, read the story. Really creepy and yet seems so very believable.
 
2003-10-10 03:08:40 AM  
[image from popems.stanford.edu too old to be available]

There is a cure for McD's. You can get your order right. You can get service in English. You can get quality burgers. In and Out.
 
2003-10-10 03:10:44 AM  
screwewe, damn good fries too.
 
2003-10-10 03:11:23 AM  
skrewewe

protein style 10x10, motherfarkers.
 
2003-10-10 03:12:01 AM  
screwewe -

Amen, brother. It's the only thing California has going for it about now.

(Yes, I know there are In-N-Out locations in AZ and NV now.)
 
2003-10-10 03:13:03 AM  
Landyl it was a bit creepy the first few times I saw this all, actually. However, it has changed my initial reaction of "ug, 20 cars back... this is going to take an hour", to being able to just about roll through the entire drive-thru without stopping regardless of how many cars there are ahead of me.

That's EXACTLY how the story begins. What's scarier than the story is reading McDonalds do something along those lines and having a fellow Farker admit it's creepy. And yes I RTFA and know that McDonalds is only using call centres and not AI software etc., but how far are they from doing it? For the lazy Farker, excerpt from:

Chapter 1 - Manna - by Marshall Brain:

Depending on how you want to think about it, it was funny or inevitable or symbolic that the robotic takeover did not start at MIT, NASA, Microsoft or Ford. It started at a Burger-G restaurant in Cary, NC on May 17, 2010. It seemed like such a simple thing at the time, but May 17 marked a pivotal moment in human history.

Burger-G was a fast food chain that had come out of nowhere starting with its first restaurant in 2001. The Burger-G chain had an attitude and a style that said "hip" and "fun" to a wide swath of the American middle class. The chain was able to grow with surprising speed based on its popularity and the public persona of the young founder, Joe Garcia. By 2010 the chain had 1,000 outlets in the U.S. and showed no signs of slowing down. If the trend continued, Burger-G would soon be one of the "Top 5" fast food restaurants in the U.S.
 
2003-10-10 03:13:07 AM  
god, i hope Arnold doesnt go on some fitness craze and pack hell of regulations on fast food companies or anything.

nothing must stand between me and my In-n-Out.
 
2003-10-10 03:14:57 AM  
They Fark you in the drive-thru!

/Pecce
 
2003-10-10 03:15:04 AM  
I miss McDonald's delivery and their pizza (they were testing it in Kingston, Ontario when I was going to university). McDonald's vegetarian pizza was surprisingly good, and there's nothing like getting high and craving McDonald's, and being able to just get them to deliver. ;)
 
2003-10-10 03:15:30 AM  
[image from poster.net too old to be available]
fancy a bit of the old In-N-Out?

/got nothing
 
2003-10-10 03:17:00 AM  
Has anyone else seen the "Bucket of McNuggets?" The woman at the counter says you get 50 nuggets per bucket. Bleah.
 
2003-10-10 03:26:41 AM  
It may be faster but it'll still taste crap.
 
2003-10-10 03:26:54 AM  
Beat me to it, Big_Sexy. If I wasn't banning McD's because of their crappy food, I'd be banning it cause of that book. Oh well, the book helped me ban BK, Taco Bell, Arby's, and Wendy's. My digestive system is thanking me and Mr. Schlosser.
 
2003-10-10 03:30:59 AM  
Yeah, but In-N-Out isn't as good once you get out of the sphere of LA. The one on Fishermans Wharf doesn't hold a candle to ANY location in LA/San Berdoo/San Diego.
/Ex-Socalian Dying for an In-N-Out but not for Ahnold the Republicrat.
 
2003-10-10 03:31:33 AM  
fark you McD's haters. mcdonald's tastes farking great and i have neither a fat ass nor a doubt in my mind that i'm in better shape than most of you whose guts are too weak for the goodness that is a super-sized value meal.
 
2003-10-10 03:35:26 AM  
man that kinda sucks.. the jack in the crack is so much closer to my place.:/
 
2003-10-10 03:35:57 AM  
Sacred Not Fuzz

no sir, really, that super-size quarterpounder meal won't make you fat enough. might i suggest adding a milkshake to raise the calorie intake to 500% over the recommended level?

Thats stupid.I doubt a person who phones in an order to MC DONALDS is concerned about his/her health.
 
2003-10-10 03:40:30 AM  
SrWapo Yeah... I took that book with me for beach reading on a trip to Hawaii in May of 2002. Before I left, I grabbed one of those yogurt fruit parfait thingy's at the Indy airport. That was the last time I ever went to a McVomit. It wasn't as much a health concern as it was a reaction to their politics. Cradle to grave, indeed. Oh, and I read Schlosser's "Reefer Madness" a few months back. Not as engaging as FFN, but still a good read. I hear he is now writing one on the prison system, for which I look forward.

ez76
Well, since you mentioned it, when I gave up fast food (and soda, to boot!) I lost 20 pounds in 6 weeks. I kept my same excercise routine, I'm happier, healther, and dating a girl who would have been my fantasy woman ten years ago. I guess what I'm saying is, nya-nya-nya-nya-nyaaaaa... : )

Brent
 
2003-10-10 03:41:57 AM  
Oops...forgot a "nyaaaaa" at the end. Ah well.
 
2003-10-10 03:44:35 AM  
"Sorry sir, no fries for you, our server is down."
 
2003-10-10 03:49:53 AM  
Um...I don't know if anyone else remembers it, but this isn't the first time McD's tried this. Years ago a few McD's in the Hampton Roads area of Va were testing a delivery service. You would call them up, tell 'em what you wanted and they would deliver it to your house in a big heat-bag that looked like a giant happy meal box. Food was pipping hot 99.9% of the time too.

Or maybe it was just that one McD's I always went to...I know I'm not the only one that remembers this?
 
2003-10-10 04:08:35 AM  
Big_Sexy, yeah, a freind of mine lent be the book about 2 weeks ago. To be honest, I see myself going back to Arby's and Wendy's, but at much longer intervals in between. All other major fast-food is off limits to me. The book actually helped me create a boycott of Walmart for myself, in addition to fast food.

I started going to local fast-food joints around me where the food is better and I support local working folks instead of huge corporations. Spending a buck more per meal seems a small price to pay if it keeps a local business from going under.
 
2003-10-10 04:14:30 AM  
To the proponents of In-n-Out:

You get it.
The cost between their double-double meal and McDonald's shiat quarter pounder/big mac/flavor of the day is minimal, considering In-n-Out serves REAL food.

In-n-Out has become FAR more corporate than they were the days I first ate there, but they've never sacrificed on quality, EVER, at ANY location I've been to (including Nevada and Arizona hehe)

I feel for you people East of Eden.
 
2003-10-10 04:30:50 AM  
FatherG: The article has nothing to do with delivery service.
 
2003-10-10 04:31:14 AM  
SrWapo Ah, yes...Arby's is a problem. For some reason I can still rationalize getting the occasional Market Fresh turkey and swiss. But, your right... I also had this overwhelming urge to stop Wal-Marting it.

All you In 'n Outers, Great place. Actually, Schlosser in FFN makes them out to be the ideal fast food company - Family owned, they get their potatoes and meats from respectable places, yadda, yadda. I'm still not sure about the whole John 3:16 on the bottom of the cups, but, whatever...as long as they don't make the lemonade with holy water.
 
2003-10-10 04:35:43 AM  
Oh yeah, I think this is retarded. I was waiting on the sentence that said people could call in orders from home, then they'd be ready when you got there. Everything else is just STUPID. You have to be in the restaurant and using a phone at the actual table. That's just dumb.

Why the hell are they paying employees at a call center to answer phonecalls from TABLES in McDonald's? First of all, the chick doing the drive-thru could pick up two-way radios or something. It'd be way cheaper and more reliable. Second of all, it'd be cheaper to install touchscreens or something on the tables on a wireless network and do orders that way. Then it's impossible to get the order wrong, because you verify it before it's sent. For those of you that plan to argue that it's not cheaper, consider the cost of building a call center, paying for at least 25 lines (and hundreds if you're doing it nationwide), paying salary, paying for telecommunications equipment everywhere... it's just better to do it with computers.

The Zoom-thru idea is cool. I like it. It'd be cooler if it accepted cash or something, though. I can't see myself paying with a credit card at a McD's.


Mr. Bigari should have hired some real consultants, not some guy from the phone company.
 
2003-10-10 05:05:05 AM  
This has got to be the stupidist thing I've ever heard of.

In and around Raleigh, NC they the McD's are introducing order kiosks like this:

[image from kis-kiosk.com too old to be available]

You pick what you want from the touch screen, feed your money into the machine and it spits out a receipt with a bar code. Take the receipt over to the lone cashier and get your change and your food. It's got to cut down on errors because many of them occurr when the order is being placed rather than when it is being filled.

One of the kiosks is designated for the play area. Place your order there and they will deliver the food to the play area and give you your change.

This system works pretty well, and just about eliminates standing in line. This phone is system is unnecessary.
 
2003-10-10 05:11:42 AM  
If they keep this idea going for a while, any bets on how long it will be before their "call center" is farmed out to India?

Frankly, I fail to see how calling some phone monkey fifty miles away to place an order so that he can send it back to the kitchen of the McDonald's you're sitting in is more "efficient" than, say, walking ten feet to the counter and giving it to the guy standing there...or, as someone else suggested, selecting the order on a tableside touch-screen system that sends the order to the kitchen (which is exactly what the guy at the counter or the phone monkey will be doing anyway...). As far as "upselling" goes, I haven't been to a McDonald's in a long time...do the counter workers no longer badger you about "super sizing" every damn thing you order or ask you if you want fries with your order of fries? You'd think offsite order taking would be a disadvantage there, since you can just tell them to fark off when they won't take no for an answer without having to worry about them taking a leak in your drink, or getting some of their "buddies" to corner you in a dark alley after you leave.

Ah well...I don't eat fast food anymore anyway, and even if I did, it sure as hell wouldn't be McDonald's...

DennyK
 
2003-10-10 05:17:27 AM  
I got tired of spending 10 minutes in the drive through line at McDs in southern Michigan and northern Indiana. Their service is consistently slow, and always when I was in a hurry. Fortunately there is competition.
 
2003-10-10 05:17:47 AM  
chime
The Austrailia project in the Manna Story reminds me of a proposed society called the Edenists, in Peter Hamilton's Nights Dawn Trilogy. Peter Hamilton is an amazing writer his books are populated with a lot of intresting and quasi-realistic technologies. I reccomend the read,though the books are very very long. Each of the three books are over a thousand pages long.
I agree with the Manna story being rather scary. Serial killers and Terrorist attacks don't scare me but these are the type of stories that give me nightmares.
 
2003-10-10 06:27:01 AM  
chime
That guy takes a perfectly good setting for a story, and craps it up in 5 chapters. One of the first major rules of writing is "NO blatant moralizing to the readers." Reading the last 3 chapters was an exercise in disgust - I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it doesn't seem like it will.

His view of a utopia, I find incredibly disturbing. It's basically glorified communism - complete with the dictatorial control and lack of status as an individual.

Plus, the entire "romantic" side of the story is incredibly asinine.
 
2003-10-10 08:00:10 AM  
Next, the McD's call center will be outsourced to India.
 
2003-10-10 08:02:15 AM  
"Thank you for calling HP/McDonalds. Are you calling with a printer problem or would you like a Happy Meal?"
 
2003-10-10 08:18:06 AM  
Uh....can someone tell me how IN N Out fries that taste more like bad potato chips are *GOOD*?

Don't get me wrong, the burgers kick ass.

But the fries don't.

And another thing, it will be a sad day when we all need McD's so much that we need a McD's card. *ugh*

Bye.
 
2003-10-10 08:19:01 AM  
christ, all this money and you know that the end best solution is just going to be them turning the goddamn punch screen on the counter around, and letting us do it.

I'm pretty sure I can remember where the quarter pounder button is better than those punk kids and middle aged mothers of two.
 
2003-10-10 09:45:24 AM  
Our Hardee's restaurant installed a fax machine 15 years ago to accept orders. Few customers used it, and it was a little more work to handle than the usual walk-in customer orders. I considered it a failure.
 
2003-10-10 10:19:11 AM  
What? Phone ahead orders? It's frickin McDonald's people. It's not like you have to wait long anyways. Awww, poor babies, you have to wait a minute for your food.

"30 seconds?! But I'm hungry now." - Homer Simpson.

In the end, it's just some way to boost business. They are already everywhere. Wait, I've got an idea. How about making good food. You fries are already good now go work on those burgers.
 
2003-10-10 10:34:29 AM  
clever_handle I've got one in the McD's near me in Apex. Actually, there are two of them. One's the red line or something, and the other is the green line or something. I tried the machine out for fun, and got my order quicker than the people in the regular line. Seeing as I go to McD's once every three months or so, who knows what progress has been made since then!?
 
2003-10-10 11:58:43 AM  
I don't want to even slow down. They should have one of those sensors like for the toll booth and when I drive by they throw the food at me. I can't be expected to actually STOP my car!
 
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