McDonald's: I have blogged about this many times. I probably "know" McDonald's as well as any blogger. Across the country, McDonald's has been doing two big things the past two years: remodeling their restaurants inside and out; and, adding self-ordering kiosks.
See this article.
An analyst yesterday suggested that the kiosks result in folks ordering more than they order when ordering at the counter. To the CNBC talking head this made no sense. Obviously he had not yet used the kiosk ordering system. I can tell you from personal experience it's absolutely true. People order more from the McDonald's kiosk than when ordering from the counter. Trust me.
First of all, when I am by myself, I tend to order a medium size of French fries off the kiosk but only a small size when ordering at the counter. Don't ask me why. It's not rocket science. It's all about pictures and wants and expectations.
With Sophia, who will turn four in the next month or so, it's absolutely interesting. We order off the kiosk and it's so easy for her to see the picture, and then ...
... let me digress... think about it. ... when I step up to the counter, I only have my "prepared" order in my head. No pictures, no marketing, no ads, no nothing, just my "prepared" order -- and it never really changes .. but then I step up to the kiosk and I see the entire panoply of McDonald's offerings. Things I never thought of. Marketing. Subliminal marketing. In-your-face marketing. It's all there. And you're hungry ... and a gazillion offerings pop up. So my "prepared" order of a regular hamburger ($1.00), a small order of French fries, and a small diet coke goes out the door: a Big Mac, a medium order of French fries, and a large diet coke (note: regardless of size of fountain drinks, they all cost $1.00 -- it's only a matter of time before McDonald's offers fountain drinks for free for orders over $8.00). So .. that's my kiosk experience .. now back to what I was saying ...
But then, with Sophia, it's absolutely interesting. We order off the kiosk and it's easy for her to see the picture and point to whatever she wants. Before, with me, she had three choices -- the ones I gave her. Now, with the kiosk, Sophia has a gazillion choices and if I don't let her order what she wants, I have to listen to her complain for the next hour.
But it's worse. While she's in PlayPlace she comes back and says she wants another side of French fries. Back to the kiosk. Partly because it's so much fun. Partly because it's so easy. Partly because it's a grandparent thing.
Kiosk ordering in McDonald's? Brilliant.
For investors: again, this is an open-book test.
Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment, travel, relationship, job, travel, or financial decisions based on what you read here or think you may have read here. Don't make any fast food restaurant choices based on what you read here, either.
By the way, I also learned that McDonald's is now using BlueTooth to locate where folks are sitting who have ordered off the kiosk to more easily locate them when bringing them their order. Imagine that: a little "mapquest" for each McDonald's employee.
By the way, the Japanese have been doing this for years. At revolving sushi restaurants, one orders off a kiosk. This may be a rare case where an American company copied from the Japanese and not the other way around. LOL.
Question of the day: when will Starbucks get with the program and offer kiosk ordering. It seems like a no-brainer.