McDonald's Bringing Touchscreens, Customizable Burgers To 2,000 Restaurants

The allure of fast service and relatively affordable meals is no longer enough to attract a customer base that's increasingly concerned with health and food options. As a result, fast-food chain McDonald's saw its same-store sales in the U.S. decrease 4.6 percent in November, a backwards trend the company hopes to solve by giving users more choice over how their meals are made. 

At some point in the near future, McDonald's will announce the expansion of its "Create Your Taste" test platform. This is a something McDonald's has been testing on a small basis in California, in which customers are able to use kiosks with built-in tablet touchscreens to customize their entire burger. Everything from the bun to the toppings and sauces can be configured.

"This is a big deal," Greg Watson, senior vice president of U.S. menu innovation, told USA Today. "We are all under some pressure that is coming from the business picture not being where we want it to be."
Quarter Pounder
Soon you'll be able to customize your burger at McDonald's through a touchscreen kiosk.

The test run is expanding to 30 locations in five more states -- Illinois, Wisconsin, Georgia, Missouri, and Pennsylvania -- and will be rolled out to around 2,000 U.S. locations next year. That works out to about one in seven locations.

While the Create Your Taste platform will give patrons more options, it comes at the expense of price and speed. In one location where it's currently being tested, a customized burger with fries and a soft drink rings up at $8.19. On top of that, it can take up to seven minutes to prepare the custom order.

Nevertheless, early tests show that a new generation of patrons are willing to both pay a premium and wait longer in exchange for customizing their order and use technology.

"Today's consumers increasingly demand more choice, convenience and value in their dining-out experience," said McDonald's President and Chief Executive Officer Don Thompson. "We are working to bring the McDonald's Experience of the Future to life for our customers to better deliver against these evolving expectations."

It's an interesting proposition to get more of today's youth through its front doors, though McDonald's faces a challenge with older patrons who aren't as comfortable with technology. To help with that, crewmembers stand by the kiosks during busy hours to help them place their order.