CHOICE membership

McDonalds self serve machines - ✔ or ✘


The machines are very useful if you’re in a country where English is not the main language as you can choose which language you want on the machines and you can also see what you are ordering.


I mostly use the self-serve machines at Maccas, and my local has in the last few weeks doubled the amount they have. On the whole I find them ok, tho they do freeze from time to time. Also it’s not always possible to add all possible extras on some burgers, eg. adding pickles on my fillet o fish. On the other hand it can be sometimes easier customising on the machines than trying to list all the customisations at the counter. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had tomato sauce added to a fillet instead of the extra tartare sauce I asked for. There have also been times when the machines have charged $4 for frozen Cokes when they are $1, or show items that are no longer on the menu. It does seem to be better lately.

It is possible to pay cash by taking the printed order slip to the counter. Other issues are when the machine doesn’t print the receipt or the slip to take to the counter. It’s often because the receipt roll has run out, or on occasion the printer is out of ink.

What is worse is their mobile app. More than 50% of the times I’ve attempted to use it the app doesn’t work and freezes. Also I can’t use it at the moment because I need to reset my password and they are having issues with their password resetting emails being delivered to Outlook/Hotmail accounts, even tho their promo emails still manage to get thru.

Since SA tends to be their trial state, there were times in the early days of the app I actually had to tell crew members what they needed to do in order to put the order thru, that is much improved now tho.

Per my previous paragraph, Maccas are currently trialling the McVeggie in South Australia. It’s a pattie of peas, carrots, corn, onion, potato, and cheese, McChicken sauce, pickles on a sesame seed bun. Another option I tend to do is to choose a a burger with the most salad and have the meat removed while adding salad extras. The reduce the price when removing the meat.


Faster to ask than to navigate unfriendly UI. Like exponentially faster. Up until very recently they didn’t have lactose free milk on the daft SS. Just hate them in that sort of environment. If you want anything a little different than the norm your stuffed.


I refuse to use the machines. I contacted McDonalds and they indicated that if a customer wants to be served at the counter then they can. It takes me 30 sec to order want I want from the counter. My local McDonalds has stopped arguing with me now and take my order from the counter.

Self serve should be a matter of choice not compulsion. It is pointless if you want to pay by cash which means you have to go to the counter to pay any way.


I totally agree, where is the customer service in a machine, where is the human contact and interaction, where is the enjoyable social communication. There is none, many businesses grow their turnover with good staff who give you a pleasurable experience and how do young people get training without jobs. I never use these machines, I can order quicker at the counter.Robbo


I suppose the McDonald’s change (even though I haven’t and possibly will never chose to frequent the place to see how it works), is akin to the introduction of self service petrol stations in the late 1970s/1980s.

I recall at the time that there was a bit of an uproar that one may be forced to fill up their own car with fuel. While not a driver at the time, I clearly remember my parents driving what seemed halfway across the city to get a servo that still did service until there was only a very few. The remaining ones ended up charging significantly more for the same fuel which made them change to self serve.

The hubbub only lasted a short period and now it is accepted standard practice to fill up oneself.

I have also visited restaurants (mainly Japanese sushi style or Chinese hotpot where there can be multiple small dishes delivered through out a meal) which have provided customers with tablet computers to do ordering. If one needs more food, one uses the tablet and shortly thereafter it arrives at the table. Something I thought would never had happened be can see advantages as front of house staff have less distractions and can concentrate on providing the service/food to customers.

Looks like the age of self service (servos, retailers, food outlets) etc is here to stay and any resistance to change will disappear, just like with the self service servos.


I totally agree@phb,
I never fight new ways of doing things but get on with learning and practicing how to do them; now there’s still an assistant to ask for help if things go wrong,
who knows how long that’s going to last.


Interestingly, at the same time as phasing out cashiers in favour of self-serve ordering, they are phasing in table service and “hosting” i.e. dedicated staff who cruise the tables, checking that you are happy with your meal, and looking after any problems.

Take away purchasers don’t get that human interaction, though I suspect most take away orders are now by Drive Through.


There is an opportunity to automate that ordering step too!

Pre-order by mobile app is already in place and use. It only needs one more small step to make it the only way to order drive thru. This might include the option to use your smart device and the free Maccas wifi (registered and tracked customers only) while you are in the drive thru que, to place your order.

Maccas will based on modern corporate change management strategy continue to monitor customer response to change, and proceed one small step at a time. The end point is likely certain. Only the target dates are likely to change.


True, although I suspect there is a limit to how how much of the process can be self-service, just as there is with petrol stations. Pumping the fuel is self-serve, and choosing items in-store but payment involves a cashier. And they will help you find items in the shop, especially car-related items like headlight bulbs.


I don’t use drive throughs so I could be mistaken, but don’t those with pre-orders get to queue with the pop ups that just show up and essentially clog service? When a pre-order gets to the window their food is ready and might still be acceptably warm, but it seems self defeating unless there are two queues - ‘pre-ordered’ and ‘pop up’. What if the pre-order takes an extra minute or 5 and the pre-orders behind start queueing? During busy times there are production limits in most kitchens.

If ‘it’ means being able to place an order prior to getting to the ordering machine/speaker, you are still behind the pop ups ahead of you. It helps the kitchen, but the customers; during non-peak times probably, otherwise? Of course using a mobile app in your car has its own concerns :wink:


Possibly just a series of connected parking bays, and no ques with the Maccas App calling you forward to the window when your order is ready. JIT and freshly prepared?

Well, one out of the three assured, noting payment from your digital wallet will have been completed successfully on confirming the order! How good is that? And no need to que! Can market that. :smiley:

I doubt that businesses like Maccas ever expect to market to 100% of us.
And I suspect that many of us who value Choice are not the most likely target customers, although some of us do offer our custom from time to time. We may be unwittingly a non representative Data set in this example?

Who really knows what these big corporates strategise behind closed doors?
It would be unexpected if Maccas have not previously carried out a great deal of market and customer surveys before committing to the change to self ordering. We might just not have been asked in a way we recognise, or not at all if we are less frequent customers?


A related blog. It might be illegal unless you pulled in and parked and turned your engine off to wait for ‘the call’. How about that for a convenience factor? Maybe Maccas should provide a commercial fixed mount for mobiles for all their customers who sign up for their app.


Does the self-service ordering machine have the capability to “serve” a customer with food allergies?
That is, can it look up every single ingredient of a “I’d like to order that dish, but I need you to check if it has in it or not” in an accurate manner every time?


Yes, they would have to queue with everyone else. And my son (who works there) tells me that the orders taken through the app and destined for drive-through are not prepared until the person arrives and “checks in” at the order window. I think they can or have to pay at the drive though as well. Kinda pointless really!

However, if you order on the app to pick up in-store, they will start preparing your order ahead of time, ready for you to pick up. This excludes items best prepared just-in-time, such as frozen drinks and ice creams. The main benefit would be if you know it’s a busy time, or you are ordering items that take longer to prepare (some of the “breakfast” items I think?)


I don’t think so.

You’d need to use their website: