Most people realize that fast food isn't the healthiest or best-tasting cuisine.

It is, however, expected to be fast.

Because, you know, that's what it's called.

Many chains like McDonald's have struggled with slower food delivery in recent years, because there are more items on the menu (among other factors). But the world's largest restaurant chain, which serves approximately 68 million customers daily in 119 countries, is trying to change that.

For several months, McDonald's has been testing what's called the "just-for-you experience." In 200 U.S. restaurants (and more than 2,000 across the globe), customers are able to order directly from a self-serve kiosk, after which an employee brings the meal directly to the table.

 

On Thursday, McDonald's announced that it would expand the service to all 14,000 of its American restaurants.

McDonald's chief executive Steve Easterbrook, speaking at a McDonald's in New York's Tribeca neighborhood on Thursday, said the company has long expected customers to adapt to its business model of ordering at the counter and then waiting to collect their own food. Now, he said, "we're adapting our business around customers."

The Journal revealed that "test runs at more than 500 restaurants ... showed an increase in foot traffic and contributed to a mid-single-digit percentage increase in restaurant sales, lifting the $5 to $6 average check by $1, on average." Customer satisfaction scores also increased, "because families, in particular, appreciate having their food brought to them." (The company also announced the rollout of a new mobile order-and-pay app, which would allow customers to order and pay for food from their smartphones.)

As a father to two small children, I'm every fast-food chain's target customer. My wife and I try to avoid McDonald's when possible, but like many parents we end up going when in a pinch. I've used the self-serve kiosks and like them a lot: They're easy to use, reduce the pressure of making a choice with impatient customers behind you, and make a big difference in delivery time.

Will it get me to McDonald's more often?

Hard to say.

I just hope they don't start expecting me to tip.

Published on: Nov 21, 2016
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