Mcdonald’s CEO Says Robots Won’t Be Taking Over Their Kitchens Any Time Soon

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Robots will not be flipping your burgers anytime soon, says Mcdonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski.

“It’s great for garnering headlines, it’s not practical in the vast majority of restaurants,” he said on an earnings call on July 26.”The economics don’t pencil out, you don’t necessarily have the footprint.”

The CEO spoke as McDonalds said that digital sales (stemming from its mobile app and in-store digital kiosks) had exceeded $6 billion across its top six markets in the company’s second quarter for the first time.

The digitalization of the way customers’ orders their food has been apparent to diners, who have moved from placing their orders at a counter with staff, to making their choices into digital kiosks.

The CEO Kempczinski, when asked about using robots in the kitchen said it was not coming anytime soon: “There’s a lot of infrastructure investments that you need to do around your utility, around your HVAC [heating, ventilation, air conditioning] systems. You’re not going to see that as a broad-based solution anytime soon”.

Under McDonalds’ 2020 “Accelerating the Arches” strategic plan, the company has said that it intends to “double down” on what it calls “the 3 Ds — Digital, Delivery and Drive-Thru.”

Lucy Brady, the company’s Chief Digital Customer Engagement Officer, confirmed in 2020 that McDonalds is “continuing to invest over $1 billion in technology annually” — but McDonalds kitchen robots appear to be off the menu for now.

McDonalds CEO Chris Kempczinski said today: “We talked about digital being a multi-year journey, but I’m incredibly encouraged by what we’re seeing in digital. Just to give you a sense of what I think the opportunity is, if you look at Germany, France, UK, China, I mean, digital is over half of the sales in those markets. In the case of China, it’s over 80% of the sales in those markets…. we’re starting to see the benefits.

After the audit of McDonalds Q2 earning, the company saw a “significant opportunity for us to improve our chicken portfolio”.

Research house Forrester predicts that 12 million jobs will be lost to automation by 2040, although it claims that these losses will be offset by nine million new jobs including ones managing robots.

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