Guest Post: Mickey D’s Trials Interactive Order Screens

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Guest Post: Steve Schildwachter, rVue

Recently, the rVue gang took a field trip to Downers Grove, Illinois, one of the test locations for Create Your Taste, a new initiative from our good client McDonald’s.

This is an experience very different from any other McDonald’s.  It’s fast food with much more emphasis on the latter — the beef is cooked differently, and cooked to order, with a customized array of condiments and sides that requires you to sit down and wait for your order.

The reason this merits a post on Sixteen:Nine is that the entire process can be conducted via a handsome touch screen that greets you as you walk in the door.  You’re also greeted by an employee who walks customers through the screen-ordering process because … well, because a screen is not what you expect walking into McDonald’s.

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The nearby photos give you an idea of the screen and the product you can order.  The in-screen experience was well-plotted — logical but still human.  I kept having to reset my expectation of what kind of bun, what kind of sauce, what kind of cheese … these weren’t familiar choices at Mickey D’s.

Which is why this test will probably need some time.  In its current state, it won’t work in the drive-thru, although mobile ordering could make it feasible.  But it’s the customer experience we thought about most.  Will people in a hurry still go to McDonald’s when they’re ready for a more burger-ful experience?

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That’s the thing:  Food quality was A+, so was the service.  But will it scale for a customer base that’s always in a hurry?

For the moment, I bet the Culver’s across the street is hurting.  On the other hand, if Fuddruckers were to start using these screens …

Steve Schildwachter

Steve Schildwachter

EVP & Chief Marketing Officer at rVue
Steve is an advertising industry leader, having worked at Leo Burnett, DMB&B and FCB, and was named an Agency Innovator by The Internationalist magazine. His blog Ad Majorem was #7 among 50 Excellent Ad Agency Blogs Worth Reading. He joined rVue, an advertising technology platform for digital place-based media, in 2013.
Steve Schildwachter
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2 Comments

  • Jeremy Gavin says:

    To me this would be absolutely perfect for McDonald’s and though I only stop by their for their delicious cookies, the time is right for interactive touchscreen ordering. I had a great experience Sunday night ordering at an airport restaurant, I order now and again from Chipotle on my iPhone and I also ordered fast food via kiosk at another sandwich joint in an airport. I felt I was getting through the process faster than waiting to talk to a human – even if it took as long to get my food. The McD’s customer usually knows what they want and is in a hurry. I imagine for those not comfortable they can go ‘check out’ with a human… you see this happening already with self-checkout at grocery stores, Home Depot and the like. I think this is going to happen soon and its going to happen fast. Digital Menu boards are just the start.

  • Thanks, Jeremy. One of my clients clarifies for us: “This is designed as an in-store experience. The drive through experience features a limited menu, and it’s faster. If you have more time and money, come inside. If not, drive through quickly.”

    Glad to see them experimenting.

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