McDonald's Wants to 3D Print Your Happy Meal Toy

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News Posted: Thu, Nov 7 2013 9:50 AM
"Would you like a 3D printed toy with that?" That's a question that doesn't yet exist inside any McDonald's fast food restaurants, but give it time and it may become a mandatory query, at least when ordering a Happy Meal. In this day and age of the Internet of Things, society is becoming increasingly connected, and companies are harnessing technology in unique ways.

What does this have to do with the golden arches? Mark Fabes, director of IT for McDonald's in the U.K., recently spoke at the Fujitsu Forum in Germany on the topic of the "disruptive customer" and his/her push for digital toys. McDonald's faces a new generation of customers, including kids being raised on digital gadgets like smartphones and tablets. Maybe getting a toy car isn't cool enough anymore.

What would be cool, however, is having your toy printed in 3D, and that's something Fabes and McDonald's is exploring.

Happy Meal Toy
Image Source: Flickr (gadgetdude)

"As you know, you don't always get every toy in a set. So how about as part of a value exchange or as a reward to give the ability to reprint a toy in the restaurant?," Fabes said, according to V3.

This doesn't mean you should rush out to your nearest McDonald's and ask when you it will start offering 3D printed toys. The staff would probably look at you funny. Right now, the idea is "just a thought," along with other ideas to keep the chain current. For example, McDonald's is also testing in-restaurant use of tables and touchscreen food ordering kiosks.

"We're trying to get some customer insight as to what they want from us as a value exchange. We're not sure what that means for a McDonald's customer. My challenge within retail is that if you're not gaining insight on your customers, someone else is," Fabes added.
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Dave_HH replied on Thu, Nov 7 2013 11:15 AM

Talk about the prototypical application for 3D Printing; this is a natural!

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They really do need to improve the speed though. At a local hacker space around me they have a Makerbot  3D printer available to members and its always occupied. One member printed a 2 inch keychain design which took 6 hours to fabricate. That kind of wait wouldn't go over so well with folks waiting for fast food.

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scolaner replied on Mon, Nov 11 2013 11:01 AM

The idea? Cool. The execution? Seems...a ways off...

Also, I'm trying to imagine where in a typical McDonalds restaurant they'd put a 3D printer, and how much more congested the place would be with a gaggle of kiddies crowding around it.

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