Reuters is reporting that McDonald’s is actively testing the use of mid-western call centers for drive through orders. Apparently, there have been some long standing issues of order accuracy with the current system of having local teens with headsets enter the orders from cars into the fast-food chains computer system. While I seldom eat at any McDonald’s, I can vouch for similar problems at the walk up counter at my local Burger King.
The plan is to have professionally trained call center employees take your order and enter it precisely into a national computer system, presumably encoded with the restaurant you ordered from. There could be some interesting accidents with a system like this. A one-digit error could result in a surplus of cheesburgers in DesMoines and dozens of angry customers in Detroit. If you thought lost luggage was a sore spot with Americans, just wait until you’ve misrouted their lunch.
Personally, I like the concept as it creates jobs for mid-America. This is the sort of work that could be performed in the Arkansas Delta region, which has been devestated by the loss of agriculture and manufacturing jobs.
I also like the idea of using call centers as it involves telephones versus outdoor speakers. I’ve always hated talking into those drive through speakers. With real telephones involved, perhaps we can use a cell phone to call in our orders. Why not call up McDonalds from your home and have an order ready to pick up?
As I used to traverse the USA with my family during military changes of station, how about ordering ahead? While having lunch in Oklahoma City, could I not pre-order dinner at 8:00 tonight in Tucumcari? I can reserve a motel room, why not dinner?
Think what this out-of-the-box idea could mean to Pepsi, who owns Taco Bell and KFC. While picking up my wife’s Burrito Grando Supreme-o Extra-Sauce-o, I could have a box or bucket of extra-crispy, deep-dish, double stuffed, Sunday bird waiting at the KFC just around the corner.
I have seen the future and it is good… finger licking good.
Dave over at BlogCritics has a more complete story and analysis of the McDonald’s outsourcing story. Lots of comments from readers too.