clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

McDonald's Custom Ordering Kiosks Are a Quiet Glimpse Into the Future of Food

New, 5 comments

Finally, silent eating.

A traditional McDonald's ordering counter. No thank you.
A traditional McDonald's ordering counter. No thank you.
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

It seems that most of the online restaurant platforms looking to deliver us into the future are primarily aimed at just getting the world to interact less and less in person. Food delivery and personal meal apps are all the rage — and allow anyone to just sit at home in soiled sweatpants forever — as are reservation systems and payment processes that can literally get customers in the door and back out, fully paid, without so much as a word.

Which is why no one should be surprised that McDonald’s just launched a Create Your Taste kiosk ordering system just south of Downtown Los Angeles, one of less than 20 currently being piloted across the country. As LAist explains, the kiosks are meant to be full replacements for human kindness and emotion any level of interaction, allowing customers to work through the touch-screen menus to not only place a regular order, but completely customize every part of it. Want pepper jack instead of cheddar cheese? You got it. Ciabatta instead of whatever bread-like thing they normally use? Why not.

Once you’ve dialed in your specs, you get a pager (which seems oddly antiquated. A pager?!) that bleeps and bloops to let you know that your order is ready, and that’s it. You can now silently eat during your lunch break and you don’t even have to feel like you should be talking to someone!

McDonald's Kiosk

[McDonald's Ordering Kiosk]

In the near future, not talking to humans may well become part of the built-in business plan for companies like McDonald's, especially in cities like Los Angeles where a $15 minimum wage is set to become the norm. Lower labor costs and their associated payments (health care, insurance, etc.) means more money for stockholders, so don't be surprised if kiosks start to become the norm. Let’s hope they at least pay to pipe in a little music though, otherwise the place is going to sound like a crypt.

You can get a glimpse of the high-tech system over on the McDonald's Australia site. But if you want to check the Create Your Taste kiosk out for yourself, you'll have to get to the corner McDonald’s at 201 W. Washington Blvd, just below the 10 freeway, for your very own chance to order (and eat) in pure, glorious silence.