Table service. Mobile ordering. Delivery. And ordering food without human interaction. Is this something dreamed up by Amazon.com? No, it’s the latest from fast-food giant McDonald’s.
And it’s being rolled out in Thurston County, according to Kim Presto, who owns five McDonald’s in the Olympia area. Her locations are on Black Lake Boulevard, Harrison Avenue and Plum Street in Olympia; Pacific Avenue in Lacey; and in Yelm.
The changes reflect trends in customer service culture by putting the power of ordering in customers’ hands, Presto said.
Her Black Lake location, which she opened in June 2015, has all the new advancements in place, including kiosk-style ordering, which allows customers to order food — and customize that order — then sit and wait for table service.
Customer David Phan, 25, of Olympia, who works near the Black Lake location and often eats there or makes food runs for his co-workers, ordered a Big Mac meal via the kiosk on Wednesday. The kiosk itself is a large computer screen that is operated by touching it. Once your order is complete, you swipe your credit or debit card — those with cash pay at the regular customer ordering counter — pick out your cup to fill it with a beverage, and grab a table locator.
Phan completed his order and payment in less than a minute.
“We don’t want them to get up after that,” Presto said, adding that the food is brought to the customer, and employees will check whether they need napkins or ketchup. They’ll also ask how their meal was, similar to service in a restaurant with a wait staff.
“It’s very close to waiting on someone,” she said.
If you’re not interested in dining at McDonald’s, there are other options.
McDonald’s has its own smart phone app, which allows customers to order and pay via their phone, then pick up their food by either entering the store, using the drive-through, or parking in a designated spot where the food can be brought to the customer.
McDonald’s also has recently signed on to be part of the new UberEats delivery service. Uber, the ride-hailing service known for delivering people door-to-door, now gives its independent-contractor drivers the option of delivering food, or in the case of McDonald’s, “McDelivery,” said Presto.
There is a designated counter for Uber drivers to pick up food, or they go through the drive-through. She said she’s getting 50-60 UberEats orders per week at each restaurant.
Presto acknowledged that she’s sometimes resistant to change, which she attributes to her accounting background. But she has seen a lot of changes at McDonald’s over the years.
Presto has been part of the company for 36 years. She grew up in Belfair and began working at McDonald’s in Bremertoon as a teen when she needed to earn money for school clothes. She later worked at McDonald’s while attending Central Washington University in Ellensburg.
She bought her first McDonald’s in Shelton in 1998, then later sold it and bought six locations in Everett. She later sold those and bought into the Olympia market. All five stores in this area employ 250. Her goal is to operate 10 locations.
McDonald’s has provided her with a sense of family and belonging.
“It’s the culture that I fell in love with,” she said.
Five McDonald’s in Thurston County
- Owner: Kim Presto
- What’s new: Presto is rolling out new technology at her five locations. All of the advancements are in place at the Black Lake Boulevard location now; they will follow at Yelm in September, Olympia’s Plum Street in early 2018, west Olympia’s Harrison Avenue in early 2019; and Pacific Avenue in Lacey in late 2019.
- The changes: Table service. Mobile ordering and paying. “McDelivery,” via UberEats, and kiosk-style ordering.
- Employees: 250 total at the five locations.