When the world’s largest burger chain cannonballs into the better-burger pool, smaller operators better look out. McDonald’s is dipping its toe into customization, bringing better burgers to the QSR level. After a trial at its Innovation Center in Romeoville, Ill., McDonald’s outfitted this southern California store at the end of 2013 with wall-mounted tablets on which customers can build their own burgers. If the test is replicable, it’ll prove that the model can resonate with a modern, national audience. McDonald’s has built the design to match, adding new hues and swanky seating and light fixtures not common in fast food. But McDonald’s isn’t the only QSR burger concept making strides. White Castle and Jack in the Box are both testing touchscreen, self-ordering kiosks at single locations.
Embracing technology. On-screen menus allow customers to choose from either an artisan or bakery-style bun; American, cheddar or pepper-jack cheese; and a wide range of toppings and sauces.