Sunday, August 16, 2009

Outsourcing the Drive-Thru

This isn't new - Tom Friedman in The World Is Flat, points to the example of a reservation system for restaurants that is done remotely. Let's assume that, as the article states, this is not a cost-savings move. Instead the goal of this outsourcing is to "improve order accuracy and free up workers." Isn't it troubling that they couldn't find anyone on their current staff - or for that matter - anyone in Sellersburg, Indiana to accurately take orders? Even a stay-at-home mom in Indiana couldn't do the job? Strange ...

McDonald's experiments by using drive through operators who work from home
Instead of getting the usual greeting from a restaurant worker shouting over the din of a noisy kitchen, customers who drive through the McDonald's in Sellersburg, Ind., might have their orders taken by a stay-at-home mom in North Dakota.

That McDonald's is the first in the Louisville area to experiment with off-site order takers. The drive-through speakers are operated mainly by home workers in rural states like North Dakota and Montana. They punch in orders on home computers and transmit them to screens in the Sellersburg restaurant's kitchen.

The store has been running the system since December.

Rather than saving money, the goal is to improve order accuracy and free up workers to fill orders faster, he said. Increased efficiency could lead to more sales, Yelenosky added.

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