No More Menu Boards For McDonalds?

McDonald's loves experiments and collecting data. We visited "brand new" McDonald's here in Colorado and discovered a completely different tech equation. The multiple large menuboards against the wall behind the counter? All gone....
No More Menu Boards For McDonalds?

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New McDonalds Counterless - Kiosk Only Ordering

The new McDonald’s is finally open here in Thornton and seeing McDonald’s Kiosk designs is one of my responsibilities. I have an older McDonald's down the street but the new one is right next to my golf course. Turns out the new iteration eliminates the usual order counter and menuboards.  All ordering is done at the kiosk.

Ordering at the kiosk allows for much greater customization.  I always order my fries with NO SALT e.g. My wife likes an extra pickle. Very difficult to custom order at the counter.  This gets back to which method is truly more personal -- Self service ordering or someone at the counter taking your order?  Fact is ordering via machine allows you to customize to your personal tastes, unlike the counter. And at McDonalds here they have adopted the Costco self-checkout method and provide a real person advising you and assisting you.

Seems more personal to me....

What We Learned and Confirmed

  • Not surprising to see it go in across from the new In-and-Out and Canes
  • Most surprising is the compressed ordering area which consists of 5 kiosks with some enabled for cash as well.
  • The usual long multi-POS stations lined up on some counter with LCD menus against the back wall behind the counter are gone.  All done maybe $100K total cost savings?
  • Two people help with orders and you sit down and they bring it to you (or you stand around)
  • The drive thru menuboards are active digital menus. My “updated” MCD down the street still uses cardboard for specials
  • The drive thru menuboards are facing the sun.  We’ll see how they hold up…
  • On the drive thru pre-order you can see the Coates decal at bottom
  • Figure OH55s from Samsung. Note the “isotropic” failures in California by Coates/Samsung earlier. Would be nice if OH55s were "silver bullet" for outdoor, however, they still require customization and ventilation.  What little profit Coates or Palmer initially realized was completely wiped out later and turned into a net loss. Going cheap is mesmerizing for some.
  • There is legal action related to all that as well.  Improper/lack of ventilation can cause edge seal breach. Damage is permanent.
  • We have an earlier article here on AVIXA covering Coates & Samsung.
    • Related News Update - Worth noting the MRI now has litigation filed for Samsung and also respondents Coates Group and Palmer Digital -- Link on
  • Figure the LCDs are $10K each themselves not counting supporting engineering
  • Regulatory — I didn’t see UL sticker on the kiosks
  • Regulatory – Audiopad from Storm Interface installed and with JAWS screen reader by Vispero
  • Regulatory – Not sure where the Braille labels came from and what spec. California has their own special design fyi*
  • Ordering — you need to grab a “Table Tent”. We wondered what that was.
  • Tables all come with charging plugs and the built in beacons.
  • Payment – I always hate using these Verifone model NFC since you can never see if approved/done without removing your card. Modern iterations place the NFC in lower left quadrant isolated from the messaging on the screen (which is not audible by the way)
  • Payment – the cheap Verifone was slow as expected
  • Kiosk providers — these are manufactured and designed by Pyramid out of Germany (polytouch NGK32 K2) and “vended” into McD by Diebold Nixdorf.  DN and other related companies like NCR have suffered the last couple of years.  DN showed good recent results.
  • Nice service contract though given McD certainly margin-limited
  • Service photo — receipt jammed and employee fixed it.  Generally the printers are Epson and not the ultracheap TM88s.  I think the L90s which accommodate sticky labels (think bags of food going out drive thru window.)  Buy hundreds of thousand of them and allow very little profit margin (15%)
  • Digital Signage display right next to one of the kiosks. Not sure from who.
  • Cash — we were talking to attendant and got onto the Glory cash handling.  Unfortunately Glory still uses bank terminology designed for bank employees,  in a retail restaurant where customers are not trained cashiers.  Not often used but the recurring question by customers is “What are Notes?. Is that something on my phone or something?”
  • Bad enough cash is problematic to begin with but then the idea of plain english never occurs to Glory who is stuck on bankspeak.
  • WiFi  — surprised at how fast it is upload and download.  Typically lucky to see 15 and they are almost 100.  Makes it a great place to loiter.
  • The full photo gallery is on

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