Dining With Denise Neil

Wave of the Big Mac future: Local McDonald’s getting self-serve kiosks

In the not-so-distant future, people hungry for a Big Mac will be able to get one without ever talking to a person.

The new McDonald’s in Arkansas City, which just opened at the end of July, is the first in the area to have one of the company’s new self-serve, touch-screen ordering kiosks. But the machines will start rolling out in Wichita soon, starting with the restaurant at 21st and Ridge that’s undergoing a remodel. It should be ready, self-serve kiosk and all, within the next six weeks, said Michael Lane of Lane Enterprises.

“They’re going to roll out nationally in every restaurant where it makes sense,” he said.

The kiosks allow customers to peruse menu items and indicate on a touch screen what they want to order. They won’t replace the human-run cash registers, Lane said. They’ll just add another option.

The kiosks are all double-sided, and they’re helpful when lines are long, Lane said. They’re also good for people with language barriers because they can be operated in either English or Spanish.

Once customers have placed their orders on the kiosks and have paid, they will take a number to their table and the kitchen staff will bring their food to them. For now, the machines are accepting only cards, not cash. Employees will be stationed at the machines to help people learn how to use them.

So far, Arkansas City customers seem to like them, Lane said.

“It’s kind of interesting,” he said. “At first I thought it would just be a thing for millennials and younger people, but pretty much everybody from all generations is coming up to them.”