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McDonald’s create-your-taste kiosks take on NYC

Amid slumping sales and fierce competition McDonald's continues to roll out new initiatives in the hopes of regaining popularity with the American (and international) public. One of its latest stunts is a new build-your-own-burger kiosk — a digital display the company calls Create Your Taste — which allows the customer to pick from dozens of ingredients and hundreds of combinations. It's a stretch for a brand that was founded on a streamlined, easy-to-serve menu, but an essential answer to consumers' cries for variety and choice.

The Create Your Taste kiosk launched at McDonald's locations in Australia last September. After some success, the program spread to 2,000 locations in the U.S. (mostly in Southern California) in December. Today, a kiosk opened at a busy location in New York City. The AP reports that the kiosk is easy to use: After placing an order, customers take a number from a tray nearby, and when their burger is ready a McDonald's employee brings the burger to the table.

That consumers aren't required to approach the counter to pick up their food — and that it's not ready immediately after the order is placed — is an important break from the fast food service model. With Create Your Taste, McDonald's is borrowing a big aspect from the fast casual service sector by having an employee step away from behind her or his post at the register to deliver the food to the table. The burger is served open-face, and the fries come in a small metal basket instead of McDonald's iconic red paper box — clearly another play at enhancing the perception of quality.

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