Blog: McDonald’s drives thru cyberspace

Catherine Sleep | 12 April 2006

More and more companies are farming out their backend operations, and it’s not unusual to speak to a service representative in India when you phone your UK bank or insurance company these days. And very efficient they are too (mostly). But McDonald’s has taken outsourcing to a new level.

US customers ordering meals at drive-thru outlets may find themselves speaking not to a Real Live Person (remember them?) behind a perspex window, or even a disembodied voice originating from elsewhere in the building. No, they may be served by a McDonald’s employee sitting in a call centre many hundreds of miles away.

Web-based ordering systems relay information back to the restaurant outside of which the customer is sitting, saving seconds off each order, apparently. I kind of like it – and at least the call centre workers don’t have to spend the day surrounded by the smell of burgers.

The long-distance journey of a fastfood order


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