McDonald’s Opens First Automated Location

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Melanie Wilcox Contributor
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McDonald’s opened a new test restaurant outside Fort Worth, Texas geared toward customers “on the move,” the company announced in a December press release.

The test restaurant features an “order ahead lane,” in which customers can pick up their food and beverages on a conveyor belt, the announcement states. The Order Ahead Lane enables employees to start preparing customers’ orders when they are close to the restaurant. (RELATED: Man Armed With Knife Hops Over McDonald’s Counter, Shoves Burgers Down His Pants: Police)

“This is a great option for customers who want to place their order ahead of arrival through the McDonald’s app, skip the traditional Drive Thru line and receive their food quickly and conveniently,” the press release states.

The inside of the restaurant is smaller than a traditional McDonald’s because it caters to customers who are either dining at home or on-the-go. Customers can place their orders at kiosks and pick up their orders on a shelf. Couriers can pick up items in a separate delivery room. In the parking lot, there are multiple spots for curbside pickups and delivery drivers.

The store is mostly automated, with some employees present, but only in the kitchen, Daily Mail reported.

The plan for the new restaurant was first shared at a McDonald’s investor update meeting in 2020.