I had a nice visit late this morning with McDonald's co-owner Michael Seaman about the recent remodeling project. The self-ordering kiosks and table-location technology are the biggest changes.
"We're too early into it to see how that plays out, but for folks in Florida that I know that have been at it for over a year, you'll find that half of your baby boomers that are regulars, after a couple of months, they actually get comfortable with it and do use the kiosks," Seaman said.
Seaman was responding to a question on the customer reaction he's seeing so far with the kiosks. For myself, I've probably eaten at McDonald's three times since they were installed. The first time, I tried it and did just fine; the second time, there was an out-of-order sign on one of them and the other had a few waiting; and the third time it was also busy and I chose to walk up to the counter.
"It's mixed (reaction). Some of the millennials come to it," Seaman said. "We're trying to have somebody out here to help when somebody comes in, including someone like myself, a baby boomer who I guess hasn't necessarily gravitated to that automatically.
"Hell, I still make my airline tickets by calling on the phone. I guess I'd rather just talk to someone who knows it's done right than me screwing it up," he added. "So I may not be inclined to run to that thing right away. But there will be somebody there to help walk me through it and show me how easy it is."
I appreciated Seaman's honest and down-to-earth responses about the kiosks. Oftentimes, folks who are in the service industry will sound like a talking press release during newspaper interviews. But he's right and it only makes sense. The baby boomers would be most likely to skip the kiosk and walk up to the counter.
For a Generation X individual like myself, there would be more of an inclination to give it a try. I will definitely use the kiosk but when I eat at McDonald's, I'm usually in a hurry with a busy schedule. If there's a line at the kiosk and the counter is open, I'll probably choose the latter. As for the millennials, yes, they likely have no problems at all with it.