McDonald’s grappled with declining US sales in 2014.
CEO Don Thompson told investors that customer service is one of the biggest issues facing the brand.
“You will also see changes in our customer service models as we work to create more memorable experiences and to deliver unparalleled convenience,” Thompson said in a recent conference call.
Drive-thru service has slowed down as workers struggle to prepare dozens of new menu items. More consumers than ever are customising their orders, presenting another challenge for the staff.
McDonald’s is planning on installing self-order kiosks to improve accuracy of orders, Thompson said. Panera Bread also recently installed automated ordering.
Some restaurants will begin offering table service, and the brand will also improve its mobile ordering interface.
McDonald’s has also started redesigning some kitchens to make more room for food preparation.
The new initiatives will “simply make it easier to get McDonald’s their way, whatever that might be,” Thompson said.
McDonald’s has been testing customisable burgers that, similar to Five Guys or Smashburger, are topped with premium ingredients and take seven minutes to make.
One in five customer complaints are related to service, Julie Jargon at The Wall Street Journal reported in 2013. That report led to McDonald’s adding a position called a “runner,” a person who helps each customer get their order.
The Wall Street Journal points out that one of the chain’s biggest problems is high employee turnover.
Because most employees make a low hourly wage, they are less likely to be loyal to the company or think twice about leaving, Jargon writes.
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