McDonald’s to offer table service and self-service kiosks

Oct 2, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. ET

McDonald’s just announced major changes to its Canadian franchise — offering up self-service kiosks, bringing table delivery and dedicated wait staff to its restaurants and hiring 15,000 people in the process.

CEO John Betts says lining up to pay for the same old burger will soon be a thing of the past.

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"It used to be uniformity, reliability, consistency, now everybody's got their own way of connecting with the world," he said.

McDonald's is also adding a premium-priced “Create Your Taste” burger to the menu, with nearly 30 different options, including five types of cheese and a dozen different toppings, allowing customers to fully personalize their orders.

Of course, self-serve kiosks come at a price. According to The Globe and Mail, this customized burger is more than 15 per cent higher than the cost of a regular Big Mac. In fact, a burger can cost as much as $50, depending on the extras.

Furthermore, according to University of Toronto marketing professor Avi Goldfarb, people tend to order more complex and higher-calorie items when ordering digitally, such as adding more toppings to a pizza. His research has found that digital ordering "often removes inhibitions that customers may have in ordering food from a person rather than a computer. They’re essentially not embarrassed.”

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However, with Canada’s dismal unemployment rate holding steady at 6.8 per cent, it’s encouraging to see the franchise creating 15,000 jobs. This will translate roughly into 10 to 15 new employees per restaurant to fill new roles, including a greeter who will guide customers through the ordering process and new chefs to make the more complex made-to-order meals.

Customers who use the self-serve ordering system to get those personalized goodies can have their orders delivered directly to their table, and Betts said more employees will be needed to deal with the food delivery and clearing. The new job creation is timely, as it comes at the heels of federal adjustment to raise the minimum wage for five of the country's provinces.

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