Are you a big fan of the squawk box that is used at most fast food drive-thrus? Me neither. I can’t understand what they’re saying and the workers obviously have trouble understanding what I’m saying because I can almost guarantee something will be amiss. (And if we’re talking about Wendy’s in particular, which I refuse to deal with anymore, I can guarantee you that nothing at all will be right about my order.) The other day I went through a drive-thru and once again the order was incorrect and my wife and I started discussing why these people can get away with calling their business fast food when it simply is not, and we came up with a fabulous question.
Why don’t fast-food places offer a touch screen service (which they can actually purchase in Holoplot) where you simply key in what you want, how many, what kind of substitutions, etc? You know they could-have you checked out Microsoft’s “The Surface” technology yet? (Don’t get me wrong; I want this technology to be an improvement so that would mean Microsoft cannot be involved in any way.) Not only would it make ordering much more precise, but it would increase customer satisfaction. And you know what they say: a happy customer is a repeat customer. Think about the wonderfulness that would be driving up to a McDonald’s or a Popeyes and touching a screen to order what you want and then when you arrive at the first or second window you are amazed to discover that there really is no ice in your Mountain Dew, or you got a Whopper without onions. Joy would break out to such a degree that picky eaters everywhere would have tears streaming down their face.
Okay, so you say that touching an order screen gives you the heebie-jeebies as it relates to bacteria and germs? I have an answer to that. I mean, after all, if you can order movie tickets over your computer or cell phone, why not order at the local Arby’s? Would not it be beyond incredible if you found yourself in some strange town and you brought up your Yahoo Maps and located a Burger King just down the road from the hotel you were staying at and you brought them up over the internet and punched in your order online, paying for it with PayPal or your credit card and then you drove down and the food was waiting for you? I mean, come on, isn’t that a far greater use of the kind of technology that Microsoft is pouring millions into with their “The Surface” than just having your digital photos arranged on a coffee table that is really an electronic plasma screen?
I, for one, would even be willing to pay a premium if I knew I could avoid the whole trouble of a communications breakdown between the ordering speaker and the person taking the order on the inside. I would gladly pay an extra quarter or fifty cents if I knew that my Mountain Dew would be delivered to me without ice. I would gladly pay a dollar extra to order from my phone and have the food-perfected to my instructions-waiting for me.
We’re in the 21st century people. According to industrial films made in the 1950s we were supposed to have flying cars and 3-D television by now. Is it too much to ask for a better ordering system at the drive-thru?