Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
McDonald’s is testing its first fully-automated restaurant, which offers no human contact.
The Fort Worth, Texas branch allows people to walk in and pick up a meal without coming face to face with another person – it truly is an introvert’s dream come true.
The food is still cooked by humans, but they remain firmly in the kitchen, and everything else about the restaurant is fully automated.
Now, as you might know, it’s not unusual to order your food automatically these days, either on an electric screen or via your phone.
But this new restaurant cuts out the middle man altogether – you know, the person who gives you the order, and shouts out order numbers to a sea of people.
The restaurant only does takeaway and drive-thru orders so you can’t enter and take a seat, and an automated delivery system will deliver your meal on a conveyor belt.
It’s basically like a robot restaurant… talk about futuristic, right?
Given that it’s not a dine-in restaurant, the Texas branch is about half the size of a standard Maccies, and it looks distinctly bare, too.
TikToker @foodiemunster was offered a tour of the automated spot, which you can see below:
@McDonald’s has a new test concept
The move is practical for several reasons. For one, it’s faster and cuts the risk of human error, but it also helps people to pick up food safely post-pandemic.
Max Carmona, McDonald’s senior director of global design and restaurant development said the restaurant trial was all about “finding new ways to serve them faster and easier than ever before.”
Whilst Maccies haven’t confirmed how long the trial restaurant will be open for, it’s clear that the success or failure of this concept could dictate further plans for more human-free fast-food restaurants in the future.
Reacting to the news of the Texas restaurant, people’s reactions were certainly mixed. Some people thought the idea was practical, whilst others thought it was a worrying sign of humans losing out to technology.
“The robots are coming quicker than we realize,” warned one.
As another penned: “The Machines are taking over very soon.”
“Finally, my order will be quick and accurate,” said someone else, taking a more favourable take.
As a fourth wrote: “Awesome…no more attitude at the counter.”
Pssst, if you’re interested in how likely it actually is that robots are going to take over our restaurants, we asked some tech experts. You can read our deep-dive into that, here.