Sunday, August 08, 2004

Future: Globalizing Burgers?

So I'm sitting around last night discussing the state of the economy and future of globalization with some friends. We talked about the export of high-paying manufacturing jobs and their replacement with low-paying McDonalds's jobs. I joked that pretty soon there will be someone from India on the other side of the drive-through microphone at McDonalds, ha ha.

Imagine my surprise (and horror) to read this in today's Washington Post:
McDonald's Drive-Through A Long-Distance Experience

In the drive for even faster fast food, McDonald's restaurants are outsourcing the manning of the old standby drive-through window with the scratchy speakers.

At the drive-through window of the restaurant in Brainerd, Minn., customers give their orders to a worker at a call center in Colorado who enters it into a computer, causing it to flash on a screen inside the Brainerd restaurant, along with a photo of the customer. The process eliminates the need for workers to juggle taking and preparing orders.

The owner of the Brainerd store, Glenn Cook, was the first one outside Colorado to use the call center, which opened in June 2003. With order times reduced by an average of 20 seconds, he has seen a double-digit percentage increase in sales since September. Less than 1 percent of McDonald's restaurants use one.

"It is a lot faster," said employee Cassie Kangas. "When customers find out about it, they're really surprised. They're like, 'Oh, my gosh, this is someone in Colorado.' "
Why stop with Colorado, when you can outsource the burgers to Bombay?