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McDonald’s opens 1st mostly automated location in Texas

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At one McDonald’s location in Texas, robots are now serving up Big Macs.

Amid a growing desire for fast food giants to automate their processes, the first mostly robot-run McDonald’s restaurant is currently being tested in Fort Worth, Texas.

At this location, there are no human cashiers in sight. Even the restaurant itself is smaller and has no seating, designed to serve the grab-and-go crowd, rather than sit-down diners.

Upon entry, digital tills take customer orders and robots push food through on conveyor belts in designated pick-up areas.

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@McDonald’s has a new test concept

♬ Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms

Customers can order through the drive-thru, the company’s mobile app or the touch screen kiosks in-store.

A TikTok video showing the new automated location is already on the way to virality. As of this writing, the video has been viewed 1.3 million times. A McDonald’s spokesperson told The Guardian that though the new store is highly technical, it “is not fully automated.” There are still human workers employed in the restaurant, though interaction between customers and human employees is very limited.

The spokesperson claimed that “enhanced technology” is in place to allow “the restaurant team to begin preparing customers’ orders when they’re near the restaurant.” This is ideal for McDonald’s orders picked up by delivery couriers, or for customers who have ordered through the mobile app.

McDonald’s said the goal of the test location is to serve customers with improved speed and accuracy.

Despite the company’s enthusiasm for the new automated location, many people are not ‘McLovin” it.

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Melek confirmed that today’s advanced robotics have indeed risen to the point of taking over some jobs.

Robots in the food service industry have been designed to handle repetitive tasks and excel in areas where labour shortages are constraining production capacity in the supply chain, Melek noted.

A 2021 Institute for Policy Studies study found that McDonald’s was one of 300 companies with the lowest median worker wages in all of the U.S.

— With files from Global News’ Craig Lord