Days of the McDonald's cashier could be numbered

The end could be in sight for a much maligned but nonetheless iconic job role, the McDonald’s sales assistant, with the news that Ronald and Co will be fitting out 7,000 European outlets with touchscreens and swipe cards.

The news was broken by the Financial Times  in an interview with the president of Maccy D’s European operations, Steve Easterbrook. Easterbrook said that ordering food had “not changed for 30 or 40 years” so its restaurants would be looking to modern technology.

The move aims to make the McDonald’s experience more convenient, though we must say the original ‘give money, get burger’ was never really too taxing on the customer in the first place.

According to Easterbrook, bringing in touchscreens will mean that efficiency is increased. Swiping of Visa cards could also make life more simple for us increasingly catatonic fast food devourers, with the average transaction three to four seconds shorter for each customer. It makes instant gratification that little bit more instant.

For a company that flips burgers for around two million customers daily in Europe, this means even more money passing through its soon-to-be-automated tills.

It also means that, like the similar technology at supermarkets, the firm will be able to gather huge databases on customer ordering habits.

And it appears that other leading fast food chains are about to follow suit, with KFC informing us that it is currently trialling touchscreens in some UK stores. Though there are no Europe-wide plans just yet, they are “definitely looking at the technology”.

Burger King did not comment at time of publication.

Of course, while McDonald’s customers will have whole seconds shaved off the time between entering the shop and receiving their Happy Meal, it could mean jobs could be chopped.

Thankfully there are reports that the firm could be employing waiters at branches, which we presume is to provide Michelin level table service as well as to wipe down the greasy paw prints of those returning to touchscreens, to replenish their meagre ketchup supplies.

Burger King also told us it’s committed to creating the “best possible customer experience”. It’s currently trialling the visaPaywave system in a number of restaurants with a view to rolling out to more in the future. Burger King also told us it’s trialling the MP3-playing SoundTube pods in one branch, which we guess are speakers.