The age of the Big Mac ATM is upon us. Or at least, it will be in Boston as part of a special promotion that seems to signal fast food’s continued march towards automation.
McDonald’s will be serving up their signature burger sans employees from January 31 to February 2 in Boston’s Kenmore Square. Well, employees will still make the burgers, but the Big Macs will be taken to this Golden Arches experiment for hungry types to order from. Local franchisee Vince Spadea trumpeted this new mechanism of food delivery.
“It’s really just a fun way to be modern and progressive,” Spadea told The Boston Globe. “I think we’ll have lines out the door.”
The lack of human interaction is a fun novelty attached to the project, but it’s also a potentially scary sight for anyone employed in fast food. Secretary of Labor nominee and Carl’s Jr top boss Andy Puzder has been a vocal champion of automated workers and an aggressive opponent of minimum wage. Spadea told the Globe that he views the Big Mac machine more as a marketing opportunity than the drumming out of McDonald’s employees in their restaurants. University of Notre Dame professor Timothy Carone counters in the piece that there’s more than marketing afoot in the fast food game. He believes fast food automation is “inevitable.”
“We’re in the exploratory phase,” offers Carone. “Eventually, businesses will figure out what kind of automation people like and what they don’t like.”
No matter what the future of fast food holds for consumers and employees, we’re confident drunk folks stumbling home from the bar will still mangle their own order regardless of the delivery system.