When it comes to jobs growth in the US, all one can say is thank god for waiters and bartenders: after all, a Starbucks barista is precisely what a recently fired oil chemical engineer making half a million dollars really wants to do with their life.

However, the days of easy job gains for the BLS may be coming to an end (even if on a seasonally adjusted, goalseeked basis the trend has a long way to go).

According to Brand Eating, fast food king McDonald’s has been spotted testing a self-serve McCafe coffee station/kiosk out in downtown Chicago. The station is located in the restaurant but apart from the counter and looks to be a theoretically more convenient way for those who just want a cup of coffee to skip the regular line (while also freeing employees from having to make each drink in the back).

In essence, this is the company’s latest venture to make employees responsible for one less task as corporate HQ slowly but surely responds to minimum wage hikes sweeping all states, and in the process, outsource its minimum wage workers to simple machines which will never unionize or have any demands aside from being cleaned occasionally.

As shown below, the coffee station includes a touchpad for ordering and paying (it appears to take credit card only), a beverage spout, and a dispenser for cups.

According to Brand Eating, “drink options include lattes, mochas, and cappuccinos that are customizable with various flavorings, types of milk, and amount of espresso. There doesn’t seem to be an option for drip coffee. The price for the drinks is $2.99. The concept and set up is very similar to McDonald’s Create Your Taste customized ordering available at some restaurants.

The idea makes a lot of sense seeing as, here in the U.S., the McCafe espresso and steamed milk is automatically dispensed from a machine anyway, with syrups added after accordingly. What they’ve basically done here is put the dispenser on the other side of the counter and added automation for the syrup and ordering/payment.

At the very least, having a touchscreen menu to look through is much preferable to me than the video screen menu at my local McDonald’s that intermittently plays a montage of the drinks so that I have to wait through to see the menu.

What’s next? Why more of this of course.


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