Food on a silver conveyor belt: McDonald’s testing an automated drive-thru

The company says the new system could help employees focus on order accuracy while the conveyor belt handles the handoffs.

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McDonald’s opened a new test restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas, that uses a conveyor belt to deliver food to drive-thru customers.

McDonald’s opened a new test restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas, that uses a conveyor belt to deliver food to drive-thru customers.

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McDonald’s has opened a restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas, that uses a conveyor belt to deliver food to customers in a separate drive-thru line.

“[The conveyor system] gives our restaurant team the ability to concentrate more on order speed and accuracy,” franchisee Keith Vanecek said in a news release.

Customers who order ahead via the McDonald’s app can skip the traditional drive-thru line and receive their order via conveyor belt.

The restaurant is designed for customers planning to eat at home or on the go. There is no seating area. Inside, there’s a delivery pick-up room for couriers and kiosks where customers can place their orders and a pick-up shelf.

Outside the restaurant, there is parking dedicated to curbside order pick-up as well as designated parking for delivery drivers.

“At McDonald’s, we’ve been setting the standard for drive-thrus for more than 45 years,” said Max Carmona, the company’s senior director of global design and restaurant development. “As our customers’ needs continue to change, we are committed to finding new ways to serve them faster and easier than ever before.”

The restaurant went viral after being featured in a Tik Tok video by social media “foodie” Luis Silva, or as he’s known online, Foodie Munster. The video has been watched over 1.3 million times.

Silva said he stopped at the Forth Worth restaurant while visiting a friend. He said his meal was “right on point” and great for hungry patrons who may be “on the run.”

The Chicago-based chain said the restaurant is a solo “test and learn” restaurant.

Silva said that is probably for the best. While the new restaurant has a staff comparable to a typical McDonald’s, Silva said there’s a missing human element.

“It definitely feels like you’re doing something long-distance,” Silva said. “You definitely miss having somebody smile back at you. … You don’t have that connection of seeing people and seeing what’s going on in the kitchen.”

McDonald’s customers in Fort Worth, Texas can now pick up their food from a conveyor belt in the drive-thru at a “test” restaurant.

McDonald’s customers in Fort Worth, Texas, can now pick up their food from a conveyor belt in the drive-thru at a test restaurant.

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Silva said he saw lots of conversations in his comments section about what this model of restaurant could mean for service industry workers.

“It went viral for a reason,” Silva said. “It’s important to people when they think about the ramifications. This could mean less jobs, and people take that really seriously.”

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