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The New York Times reports that McDonald's has "announced changes that could reshape the diner’s experience, saying that it would expand its digital self-serve ordering stations and table service to all of its 14,000 American restaurants.

"The company said once people order at one of the stations — sleek, vertical touchscreens — they will get a digital location device and can take a seat. When their burgers and fries are ready, the technology will guide a server to the table to deliver the food with a big smile and a thank you."

The Times goes on to say that "customers will still be able to order food the old-fashioned way, at the counter. But the move to self-order systems and table service is one way to address one of the biggest problems the company’s restaurants have faced in recent years: slower food delivery to customers, caused by more items on the menu. The thinking is that customers will be more willing to wait if they are sitting at a table instead of waiting at a counter ... The company also announced that it would roll out a mobile order-and-pay system that would also change the way customers get their orders, including customers ordering from their cars."

And, the Times writes, "Much of what is coming to the United States has already been tried in markets like Canada, Australia and Britain, where roughly one-quarter of transactions are done on in-store screens."
KC's View:
I was considering being my usual dismissive self, and asking whether it was more likely that the hamburgers would taste like actual meat, or that the employees will deliver the items with a big smile and thank you.

But that would be mean. is reasonable to suggest that the whole "smile and a thank you" thing may be hard to deliver on, since this represents a major change in operational structure for McDonald's and its many franchisees. I suspect there will be some potholes in the road, but it'll be interesting to see how this plays out nationally.