Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Outsourcing Fast Food Jobs

All I can say is, this was inevitable:

[Hat tip: The Mayor of Simpleton]
The next time you run through the drive-through window at McDonald's the person taking your order might be a thousand miles away. The fast-food chain is experimenting with using call-centers to take the orders, which will then transmit the orders back to the kitchen.
Fast Company calls it out-of-state-sourcing and reports that for the last year-plus, the Big Mac of fast food has been working with a call center that handles drive-through orders at 40 restaurants around the country. The remote order-takers earn the minimum wage, do not get health benefits and do not wear uniforms.

Not to be left out of the loop, Hardee's and Carl's Jr., CKE Restaurants, plans to deploy a similar system later this year in restaurants in California.


Kvatch said...

But why? Don't you still have to have someone there to carry the food to the window--presumably not the cook who doesn't have time?

Also where outsourcing is concerned, it's one thing to replace a highly skill engineer in the US with a highly skill engineer in Bangalore at 1/3 the price. But a low-skilled worker at almost minimum wage with another low skilled worker at minimum wage? There must be some economy of scale here, but I just don't see it.

Rory Shock said...

why not a keypad or voice recognition software ... get rid of the order take altogether ... what next?

Jeremy said...

Wow...Lou Dobbs is going to lose his shit over this!

There is a McD's in Freeport Maine that doesn't have an actual person due to some crazy town ordinence about loud voices coming through AM radio quality you speak into a machine that actually translates your order for you. It's a little insane.

pissed off patricia said...

Somebody will still have to take the money and give change. Right now at the McDonald's near me the person taking the orders is also the one dealing with the money.

I don't see how it will benefit MdD's unless they just want to brag about outsourcing.

Kathy said...

Kvatch, they only replaced the order taker, but still have someone at the window to hand you your food and take the money. From what I read, the cost saving comes from the fact that minimum wage is paid (bypassing the prevailing wage that is higher in some areas), no health benefits are provided, and no uniforms. I'm assuming each franchisee pays a lump sum for this service and also saves money on unemployment insurance, FICA, etc. That's just my guess.

Also, the article stressed the order taker was trained to push additional items on the customer like dessert, etc. Just what we need, pushy order takers along with our french fries.

Rory, great point about the key pad or voice recognition software, but I think the importance of trying to sell add-on items is why the company is going this route for now.

Jeremy, you're right about Lou Dobbs...he'll have a cow. Lou is my new hero!

The problem I have with a speaker is that I can't ask a question, although I certainly don't want a professional order taker trying to push dessert on me either. I guess I'll have to ditch McDonald's and stick with Wendy's for now.

thepoetryman said...

So much for "hot fries" with my chicken sandwich!

This is insane!

kvatch is right... Where the hell is the viability of such a moronic move?

I don't know why this pisses me off, I don't eat at Mcdonalds anyway!

The rest of America (the world) would do good not to eat there as well. McDonalds, Burger King, Arbys, etc!

Lei Lilawadi said...

I liked your article and it inspired me to write about another side of outsourcing. One that is not driven by companies, but by consumers.

Read for yourself at
The article is titeled
'McDonalds and Medical Tourism'