I stood in line to order a custom burger from a futuristic McDonald's kiosk - and now I get why the company is betting on them
The kiosks are gigantic touchscreens that let you customize your burger with toppings like guacamole, grilled mushroom or onions, bacon, and sauces like sriracha mayo. The kiosks have drawbacks, like not working in the drive-thrus that provide 70% of McDonald's revenue, and being relatively expensive.
But I stood in line to try one at the McDonald's VIP lounge at South by Southwest, and I get why the company is betting on them to succeed.
The hype in the line was palpable. South by Southwest has a lot of "experiences" set up by marketers, but people were genuinely excited to order a custom McDonald's burger, more excited than they were to see an exclusive "Game of Thrones" trailer.
Why? One reason is that the interface lets you customize burgers in ways that would be annoying otherwise. Are you going to ask the cashier to read you out every possible option at every step (sauces, for example)? No, it just doesn't work. But with the clicking and swiping of the kiosk, which felt like an oversized smartphone, it's easy and takes seconds. And you get to craft your perfect burger.
Here's what it was like: