Thursday, April 05, 2007

McDonald's Goes Wireless Ordering in Shenzhen

Last Saturday I was in the 东门 shopping area to buy some bootleg DVDs. It was actually the first time I’ve bought DVDs since I’ve lived in Shenzhen. Not only was it cheaper than in other places (it was 5RMB compared to 7RMB or 8RMB in the north), but there was really good selection as well. They even had Spiderman 3! I didn't even know that they finished filming that yet!

There has been greater regulation recently on the sale of fake DVDs in China. Many of the old shops that sold them were disbanded by the government and now run mobile, makeshift stores in the middle of nowhere. Although the market is still there, it is much harder to sell it in the open.

After buying the DVDs, I went to McDonald’s to grab some food for my friend, Jason, who had thrown up in my bathroom the previous night. The 东门 McDonald’s that I went to was actually the 1st McDonald’s opened in China. There is a big plaque in the store. It’s kind of cool.

McDonald’s (and KFC) has been in the news lately regarding being cheap and not even following the Chinese minimum wage of 7.50RMB/hour for its workers. Capitalist pigs! Articles here, here and even CNN discussed this issue.

Well, I completely agree that McDonald’s and Yum Foods suck ass for not giving their workers even $1 per hour, especially for such a fast paced and demanding job their doing.

When I was standing in line, I saw something very interesting. There were tons of people in the restaurant that Sunday. All of the registers were overcapacity with more than 4 people in line. To deal with the huge demand, there were many McDonald’s employees walking around the back of the line to take people’s orders. What was beautiful was that this was done wirelessly through a handheld device!

Here’s how it went:

  • Employees walked in the back of the lines to take the orders of people waiting in line.
  • The used a wireless PDA-sized device and quickly entered their order into the touchpad buttons.
  • At the end of their order, the employee wrote down a number for the customer to tell the cashier so that he/she could access what the person had ordered and receive payment.
  • There were employees also walking around by the open seats to take orders as well. This is because since the restaurants are usually full, people often find seats before they order.

I looked it up online later and found the company called Infologix that provided this.

Infologix states that this wireless ordering system:

Increases sales by serving more drive-through customers (or waiting customers), improves McDonald's order accuracy, and makes everything more efficient."

I would agree. This is a innovative, thoughtful and much needed way for ordering in a lot of busy restaurants.

Has anyone else seen it?


Clement Wan said...

Yep - they're doing this out in Guangzhou but I haven't seen this in HK have you? I saw this for the first time at the Canton Fair I think last year (and if you've ever been there, with McDonald's being only one of two places you can get a decent meal for something like 25-30K people on any given day, it's crazy). But I guess the big difference between the two places is at least in HK they know what orderly queues are (though this wasn't exactly self evident at Lo Wu this morning)

Mike said...

mcdonald's in HK is dead. Why would anyone go there when theres decent food from all over the world for basically the same price?

I'm glad you saw it in Guangzhou. I wonder if they have it anywhere else beside asia. I wouldnt see a reason for it in the US since the customer volume is so low.

ive never been to the Canton Fair, but i might this year. Ive only been in China for 6 months.

Chris (Eyes East) said...

They use those things in Dalian, too. Fancy little gizmos. I see them far more often than I should. They're great for weekend traffic, when the lines are backed up with people trying to use the right combination of a dozen coupons, consulting with half the staff in the process.

Also, Spiderman 3? Did it work? I gotta go looking for that.

Mike said...

dalian hun? that's surprising that it's up in the north!

And no, spiderman didnt work. it was a chinese softcore porno. Some kind of a joke.

Tony said...

It's been in HK for a while. I first saw it about a year ago. Go to the Macdonalds in Admiralty.

Mike said...

My question is:

What are you doing going to McDonald's in Hong Kong. There is soo much food there from soo many different places...

On second thought, i love mcdonald's. nevermind.

Tony said...

Call it an addiction. Or the fact that there isn't much to eat around here at lunchtime.