The next time you're waiting for your afternoon Egg McMuffin at McDonald's, instead of standing at the counter, sighing deeply and wondering what's taking so long, you can take your impatience back to your seat instead. On Thursday, McDonald's announced that it will be bringing touchscreen ordering and table service to all 14,000 of its restaurants in the United States, starting with locations in Boston, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
"Typically, the majority of our crew is behind the counter, and that counter literally has been a barrier between our crew and the customer," McDonald's chief executive Steve Easterbrook poetically explained.
Now, the staffers and their embroidered golden arches will be "redeployed", as Easterbrook put it, to deliver cardboard burger cartons and plastic trays directly to the tables. The customers will place their orders on a touchscreen and will then receive a small digital location device that they'll take to their tables. The McCrew will then locate them—like discovering a hungry little geocache–and deliver the meals.
This announcement comes almost exactly a year after McDonald's announced that it would test table service at 600 restaurants in southern California. Table service, an amenity nobody asked for, is already available in Australia, France, the United Kingdom and, weirdly enough, at its ginormous, 500-seat mega-McD's in the Frankfurt Airport in Germany. (Last week, McDonald's spilled that table service is coming to Ireland as well, which will undoubtedly make that Maltesers McFlurry taste even better).
McDonald's is trying to get more diners to actually leave their cars and walk into their restaurants; right now, a supersized 70% of its business actually passes through its drive-thru windows. Table service and those touchscreen ordering kiosks are just two of seven ways that McDonald's says it plans on improving its customer experience. Some of its other ideas include accepting Apple Pay and Android Pay, giving its restaurant décor an upgrade, and using Sriracha mayonnaise. No, really. But maybe that's what'll finally get a millennial to eat a Big Mac.