The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Burger Order-Taker

Matt Richtel’s NY Times piece today on burger joint call-center was fascinating. While I shouldn’t have been surprised, I had no idea that some McDonald’s were using remote call-centers to take drive-through orders. Admittedly, there is no inherent reason that order-taking needs to be local, but it’s still a little unnerving, like finding out that Mturk is behind the whole thing.

So, where is the next economic place that virtualization of a heretofor local service will take place? Restaurants? Plumbing supplies? Other? Inquiring minds want to know.


  1. Actually Mickey D got the idea from a franchisee which did it over a year ago…

  2. When you think about it, anything that only involves information transfer could be virtualized and offshored. As a friend mentioned to me the other day, with the internet, we can make everyone work in a veal pen…we’ll dangle feeding tubes and give them antibiotics so they won’t infect each other (spin: Mickey D has a new medical benefit plan!).
    His take is that the real progress will occur when they can apply this technology to the customer. Much like a cochlear implant, they’ll do for taste what has been done for hearing. Dial up a burger on your cell phone and like digital rights management, your implant will be reached wirelessly and the collection of vitamins and anti-depressent capsules you just threw in your mouth will taste just like a Big Mac.
    Progress, but progress for whom?

  3. Franklin Stubbs says:
    Dystopia here we come!
    (Amusing food for thought anyway)