Toledo Talk

Mcdonalds has leased out their drivethrough to.... (india, maybe?)

I am totally disturbed that McDonalds has out-sourced their drive through orders! As in, when you go to Mcdonalds the person taking your order is not AT Mcdonalds but somewhere in a room in (probably) another country. The last couple times i have went there it was an obviously foreign person (think like calling your credit card). When i asked what toy they had, they did not know. When i asked her to check, she said, "I not in store." I was sooo confused and then the normal mcdonalds worked cut in and told me what they toy was.

Is anyone else freaked out by this? I mean, we are to the point where we even have to contract out teen jobs now?

BTW- It was the Mcdonalds in Perrysburg.

created by jennygirlmarie on May 19, 2009 at 09:05:22 am     Comments: 42

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Hahaha! That is messed up!

posted by toledolen on May 19, 2009 at 09:07:17 am     #  

i have a hard time believing this is true

posted by upso on May 19, 2009 at 09:43:04 am     #  

I know Wendy's has been experimenting with it for a while in some test markets.( personally don't agree with it, but then again, I feel that any kind of outsourcing customer service jobs is doomed to failure...You are basically putting your company image into he hands of an outsider.

posted by drunkenwildmage on May 19, 2009 at 09:45:46 am     #  

So, what's the problem? American workers don't earn a small enough wage yet?

posted by ilovetoledo on May 19, 2009 at 09:58:04 am     #  


posted by Offshore on May 19, 2009 at 09:58:20 am     #  

LOL - a hamburger company outsourcing to a country where they dont eat beef...

posted by billy on May 19, 2009 at 10:19:13 am     #  

Good one Offshore.......

posted by toledoinmd on May 19, 2009 at 10:19:42 am     #  

Simple enough to understand, people are driven by price, price is driven by costs, find away to reduce costs, while maintaining quality, and you win. 95% percent of the people who go through that drive window will never realize that the person who took their order is not at the store. Now I can pay some young kid who really doesn't want to work and gives free food to their friends and who comes in looking straight up G $6.55 an hour soon to be $7.25 an hour, and who will most likely quit in less than 6 months, or I can hire a call center in India for $3.00 an hour, where the person doing the order taking wants desperately to work in the call center, and where this is a career not just a place to kill time. I also have the flexibility during slow times to have one person taking orders at more than one store. Now figure $3.00+ in savings per hour, and we'll say at least 16 man hours (with one persons working each of two 8 hour shifts), and multiply that by the 14000 store in the US alone, and your looking at a savings of your looking at a company wide savings of at least $245 Million a year, and that's just in payroll.

posted by roygbiv on May 19, 2009 at 10:27:31 am     #  

"a hamburger company outsourcing to a country where they dont eat beef"

That confirms my suspicions about the content of McDonald’s hamburgers.

posted by Offshore on May 19, 2009 at 11:12:50 am     #  

Gosh, I'm hungry

posted by hockeyfan on May 19, 2009 at 11:29:34 am     #  

Upso: Are you implying a made a story up and posted it? Are you kidding? I asked when i got to the window and the cashier told me this, i didnt make it up.

posted by jennygirlmarie on May 19, 2009 at 12:41:47 pm     #  

roy wrote: "Simple enough to understand, people are driven by price, price is driven by costs, find away to reduce costs, while maintaining quality, and you win."

That's only half the equation, the half that people keep quoting and it has gotten us into the mess we are in now.

Besides being driven by price, people are driven by wages. When wages are low they consume less. Hence, this type of thinking has led to a downward spiral of real wages over the past decade so that once again we are heading for a economic system where people earn wages based on what John L Sullivan called, "How little they are willing to eat."

posted by ilovetoledo on May 19, 2009 at 12:58:37 pm     #  

I have heard that this sort of thing would be/could be/might be implemented at fast food restaurants, but this is the first I've heard anyone say it had actually happened locally.

Which McDonald's in P'burg? I am not that familiar with P'burg -- certainly I would not drive over there just for a Big Mac -- but I'm pretty sure they have at least 2 locations?

Anyway, I see the fiscal incentive from a corporation's point of view. The problem is that the fat cats in suits who are attracted to outsourcing and who can't seem to get "rich enough" are all apparently depending on each other to employ Americans so Americans can afford their products -- i.e. what ilovetoledo just said above me. If I could draw cartoons, I'd draw one that was captioned "Who's hiring Americans?" and then I'd have a bunch of guys in suits standing around together, looking at each other, sort of dumbfounded, each one with a bubble over his head saying, "Not me -- you?"

Eventually, this outsourcing business model is going to backfire. Well, it has already to some extent, for sure. Because it is a short-term fiscal success with the possible delayed consequence of successing yourself right out of business!

posted by jmleong on May 19, 2009 at 01:39:24 pm     #  

Through their outsourcing, downsizing, and the downward pressure they have exerted on wages, they have been destroying their customer base.

posted by ilovetoledo on May 19, 2009 at 01:57:02 pm     #  

Eventually? What planet have you been living on?

posted by toledolen on May 19, 2009 at 01:57:05 pm     #  

Well if Mickey D's doesn't need me, then I don't need them.

posted by ilovetoledo on May 19, 2009 at 02:00:57 pm     #  

The one in Crossroads. Along Rt 20 Across from meijer, walmart, ect

posted by jennygirlmarie on May 19, 2009 at 02:07:13 pm     #  

Royg - I understand your concept, but I dont get how they would save any employees? Or have they gotten away from the two window system altogether?

I get that someone from India could take the order and key it into a computer, but doesnt someone still have to stand there and make change? Arent they still paying him the same whether he takes the order AND makes the change vs only makes change?

posted by billy on May 19, 2009 at 02:14:52 pm     #  

Honestly...its probably an upgrade from the people they used to have

posted by justareviewer on May 19, 2009 at 02:15:44 pm     #  

Rudy's doesn't outsource :-)

posted by toledoinmd on May 19, 2009 at 02:20:01 pm     #  

"Eventually? What planet have you been living on?" - Toledolen

Well, as a matter of fact, plenty of companies who outsource (and you can also define that if you wish as selling products not made in America, which includes, like, anybody who produces/sells/distributes anything at this point) are currently still doing fine income-wise even if they are a bit downtrodden in the current economy. They are still profitable. Of course when their customer base slashes in half, thanks to them and their fellow corporate fat cats across many industries all sharing the same greedy mindset -- they will be in the position where they HAVE to outsource because they aren't making enough income, selling enough quantity of their product, to pay Americans. And they will find that, shared across many industries, the level of outsourcing will be (and is) probably proportional to the decline of their consumer base. What I'm saying is that this business model has not yet destroyed America, despite our high unemployment rates, though it certainly has had an inarguable effect. But you throw one more company, one more industry, into the mix in which outsourcing is acceptable, and you get one step closer.

Personally, I'm eating McDonalds, BK, Wendy's-type food much more lately than I ever have before. But that's because I'm so busy these days, partly (but to be fair, not mostly) due to the fact that I'm employed doing a job that should probably be done by two people. Now I'm grateful for my job, certainly, as it affords me the ability to grab a Big Mac when I'm too busy to cook (lest the job not get done and then I lose said job if that happens too often). But I think this is also a business mindset that has contributed to -- and is now mandatory because of -- the current U.S. economy. Business, across a spectrum of industries, is now stuck in this cause-and-effect income-and-expenses loop not unlike the age-old dilemma of the chicken and the egg.

And if you must know, I just returned from Venus. It's lovely this time of year. A bit warm, but meh.

posted by jmleong on May 19, 2009 at 04:35:31 pm     #  

ilovetoledo, never said I agreed with the concept, just that that is what is going on. Americans as a whole (both as consumers and makers/distributors of goods), continually work to ensure that we as a nation we can't compete in a global market. As consumers we'll go to walmart/ kmart/ and buy an import to save a few dollars, all the while complaining that companies are sending jobs to other countries, which they do so that they can lower the cost to try to compete. At the same time unions/ and government keep driving wages up domestically making sending jobs to other markets much more feasible.

Billy from what I have seen they would get rid of one of the window people (in a two window system), The second window person takes money and feeds change and product out the window. In a full day the probably don't save a full 16 man hours but they do save on training costs, uniform costs, and any other costs associated with having someone in house.

posted by roygbiv on May 19, 2009 at 04:37:28 pm     #  

I was wondering the same thing as Billy... like what does the employee actually do with the 20-30 seconds saved from having an operator in India take the order. I guess it makes sense if they can cut the window staff in half.

It's a business of saving pennies, but I think McDonald's (and similar companies) are getting carried away with the whole efficiency thing. Five years ago they were modernizing their kitchens with better grills, computers, etc. Now they have a drink machine that loads a cup, adds ice, fills with beverage, then queues up to a less-burdened drive-thru attendant. Pretty soon they'll have an atomic food generator like on star trek. Who needs cooks?

posted by housebeats on May 19, 2009 at 05:42:55 pm     #  

@housebeats - margins in the food industry are notoriously thin, and labor costs, i.e. turnover, insurance, training, etc. are high. If they could automate every phase of fast food, they would. Same in the automobile industry and in many other sectors. Employees are not "our most valuable asset", merely a necessary liability.

posted by justareviewer on May 19, 2009 at 06:17:32 pm     #  

Well if this is true, I see nothing wrong with it. Maybe that's why they've been getting my order correct for the last few months. If this saves them money then they should do it. Usually I expect it to be wrong when I open the bag and I'm down the road a mile or so. Half the people in these fast food jobs ought to be making about $3.00/hr. anyway. A lot of them have no appreciation for the job and act like it's a burden to be civil. Maybe the minimum wage should be raised again to about $15.00/hr. Then the staff could be cut down to two or three people.

posted by AmericanPie on May 19, 2009 at 09:02:03 pm     #  

Typical McDonald's store in the year 2050: 1 employee (potentially outsourced), 5 robots, and 1 wickedly sophisticated computer/assembly line system.

posted by housebeats on May 19, 2009 at 09:17:43 pm     #  

Typical McD's in 2050: McSoylent Green:"We're eating peoplllle",

posted by oldsendbrdy on May 19, 2009 at 10:22:31 pm     #  

We would have thought this total insanity had we heard of it say twenty years ago....and it is.

posted by Darkseid on May 20, 2009 at 02:32:51 am     #  

business and the market continually change, and there are those who instead of adjusting to it, sit around and bitch about it, but it will change with or without your approval. I remember growing up there were no self service gas pumps each station had people to pump the gas for you and check the oil, that got to expensive so now we pump our own. Computers and the internet are killing newspapers, things change, MacDonalds outsourcing is just one more change. For those who don't like change maybe you should consider a simpler lifestyle The Amish are unlikely to outsource any of their work to other countries, and are not likely to to use modern equipment to make production easier or cheaper.

posted by roygbiv on May 20, 2009 at 07:12:15 am     #  

The call centers used by McDonalds are in the USA. You may have been speaking to someone from Illinois, California or even Texas. If you had problems understanding the accent, you were probably speaking with someone from the Texas center where many of the employees are bilingual - their primary language being Spanish. If you ask, they will tell you where they are located.

IMO, as long as they continue to use call centers in the US, I don't have a problem with it. If they outsource it to another country I might think twice about patronizing the restaurants.

posted by MaumeeMom on May 20, 2009 at 09:21:07 am     #  

Companies gotta do what companies gotta do, even if they are cutting off their noses to spite their own faces. I say let 'em, but by the same token people gotta do what people gotta do, so they should use whatever means available to better their human condition, whether it be unions, or influencing the government legislators. Let's face it, we were sold a bill of goods by those who said that outsourcing and giving tax breaks to companies who ship jobs over seas would be good for us and our economy. It's time that ordinary workers quit buying the BS and start using the tools at hand to make the government and the economy serve their interests rather than the interests of the few.

posted by ilovetoledo on May 20, 2009 at 12:21:18 pm     #  

While this story sounds plausible I doubt it's true. I live near that McDonalds and haven't seen that happen. Though perhaps this is part of the confusion, I have seen a lot of McDonalds in the area use an "auto greeter".

Basically you pull up, it detects a car and a voice recording says "Welcome to McDonalds, how may I help you" or something along those lines. Then the real person kicks in and takes the actual order.

The owner there is foreign though so perhaps the poster was talking with him?

My 17yo niece works there I'll ask her tomorrow.


posted by INeedCoffee on May 20, 2009 at 08:44:34 pm     #  

As soon as she posted the stereotypical "I not in store" response I figured it was just another redneck racist that can't get past her own problems. Always easier to pass the piss.

posted by Ryan on May 20, 2009 at 10:01:33 pm     #  

I don't know about the McDonald's related to this thread, but on the subject of using call centers to take drive-thru fast food orders, it appears the concept has been in use for quite a while.

July 2004 New York Times story

Pull off Interstate 55 near Cape Girardeau, Mo., and into the drive-through lane of a McDonald's next to the highway and you'll get fast, friendly service, even though the person taking your order is not in the restaurant - or even in Missouri. The order taker is in a call center in Colorado Springs, more than 900 miles away, connected to the customer and to the workers preparing the food by high-speed data lines. Even some restaurant jobs, it seems, are not immune to outsourcing.

In the fast-food business, time is truly money: shaving even five seconds off the processing time of an order is significant. Mr. Bigari said he had cut order time in his dual-lane drive-throughs by slightly more than 30 seconds, to about 1 minute, 5 seconds, on average. That's less than half the average of 2 minutes, 36 seconds, for all McDonald's, and among the fastest of any franchise in the country, according to, which tracks such things. His drive-throughs now handle 260 cars an hour, Mr. Bigari said, 30 more than they did before he started the call center.

March 2005 blog posting :

The rumor I heard was that McDonalds would be outsourcing the job of taking orders at the drive-thru window to some company in North Dakota, because the minimum wage in North Dakota is only $5.15, whereas it's higher in other states, so they figure they can save some money. In other words, you could be going through a drive-thru in San Diego and giving your order to some guy in North Dakota. They claim that when employees have to take orders over the drive-thru mic and deliver food at the same time, they start making a lot of mistakes. So this is just an effort to make the system more efficient.

March 2005 - CBS News - Outsourcing Drive Thru? :

CBS News Radio Correspondent Lou Miliano reports the strategy is based on the theory that mistakes come from the order-taker, not the cook line. Sending orders directly to a call center and back to the grill could also allow McDonald's employees to focus on delivering better customer service, the company said.

November 2005 Oregon Live story at MetaFilter :

Fourteen McDonalds in Oregon and southeastern Washington have been linked to the call center operated by SEI-CCS Inc., a Fargo, N.D. -based company that works closely with McDonald's. The call taker in Grand Forks enters your order into a computer and relays it back to the home restaurant, where it pops up on a screen in the kitchen. Meanwhile, a digital camera photographs your car as you drive through. The photo pops up on a separate screen next to the order at the drive-through cashier's window to match the order with the car. A total of 50 McDonald's are expected to be on line within a few months, including seven more of Adams' restaurants and five in the Portland area, he said.

April 2006 - New York Times - The Long-Distance Journey of a Fast-Food Order

What made the $12.08 transaction remarkable was that the customer was not just outside Ms. Vargas's workplace here on California's central coast. She was at a McDonald's in Honolulu. And within a two-minute span Ms. Vargas had also taken orders from drive-through windows in Gulfport, Miss., and Gillette, Wyo.

November 2006 Boston Globe story :

When Jairo Moncada pulled up to the drive-through at Wendy's in Burbank, Calif., for his usual cheeseburger, fries, and soda, he knew things looked different. There was an extra lane. But the 25-year-old could not see the biggest change: The woman taking his lunch order was sitting 3,000 miles away at a computer terminal in Nashua, and fielding calls from Wendy's customers at drive-throughs as far away as Florida and Washington, D.C.

The Burbank store is one of several Wendy's restaurants around the country that have been testing the concept, and franchisees plan to expand to at least 200 stores by next spring because the initial tests are so promising. Other fast-food companies, including Burger King, Panda Express, and McDonald's, have also started routing drive-through calls to remote locations to get faster and more accurate orders and let in-store employees concentrate on making food, keeping the store clean, and ringing up sales.

But Fritton eventually agreed to fly to Colorado and sit for an hour in a rival's parking lot and see what the technology could do. He watched car after car zoom through a McDonald's drive-through at a rate he'd never seen -- more than 125 cars during lunch hour. At the time, Fritton's stores were doing about 85 cars an hour during lunchtime.

"Using call centers allows us to provide a high level of service and be able to do that from a remote location in an environment where the crew can be much more comfortable," Don Thompson , president of McDonald's USA, said in a recent interview. "What it allows us to do is to use the same crew person who was taking orders to go out to be much more hospitable to guests."

posted by jr on May 21, 2009 at 12:02:20 am     #  

I still think that is a bit of bunk, if in fact they are truly using employees in other states because the minimum wage is cheaper. I mean, you don't want to pay a state's minimum wage but you sure as heck want to make money off that state's residents?

But I will grant this: I've wondered, even recently, how the guy handing me my drink and counting back my change and telling me to have a nice day is simultaneously listening to the lady two cars back rattle off her requests for "no pickles" and "extra ketchup" and "oh, sorry, make that Coke I ordered an iced tea instead" and "are your fries hot right now?"

Is he seriously going to get that right?

(Which is a minor pet peeve of mine. Oh, I hate being behind that person in the drive-thru who truly needs to "have it their way." Dude. It's fast food. You're getting a hot meal for $5 and you don't even have to leave your car to do it. Don't be such a prima donna about it. Order straight off the menu and let's get a move-on. Please and thank you!)

posted by jmleong on May 21, 2009 at 01:28:28 am     #  

I am amazed that people are so rude as to think i literally made up a story and took the time to post it on this site. Redneck racist? Hmm... Maybe you should go back to the post where I told of how I switched from Toledo Christian high school to Libbey High school and finished there from sophmore until senior year. I guess i'm def. racist. I talked to the girl at the drive through (as i stated) and she told me that someone else takes there orders. It is now looking like it is in North Dakota becasue their min. wage is cheaper. I just love being called a liar when trying to create a discussion. Losers.

posted by jennygirlmarie on May 21, 2009 at 02:07:45 pm     #  

BTW- Boo to Ryan and ineedcoffee did you ever ask your neice? You can go ahead and post her response.

posted by jennygirlmarie on May 21, 2009 at 02:11:24 pm     #  

My daughter worked for Convergys locally who provided customer care to a Cable company in Portland, Oregon. WONDERED WHY HER DAY STARTED AT 11 AM!

posted by ronaldo on May 21, 2009 at 06:28:21 pm     #  

Just because someone is racist doesn't make them wrong, just like people who jump to conclusions about someone else's agenda doesn't make them stupid.



More McDonald's

Not sure how much savings they get by using call centers in other states Vs using in house people but there must be enough savings to make it worthwhile, (or maybe it just improves order taking), I actually think using a call center in India makes a lot of sense, and would probably increase savings more.

posted by roygbiv on May 21, 2009 at 07:44:18 pm     #  

jennygirl: sorry didn't mean to upset you. Did ask my niece and she said they just changed their system and it uses a recording for greetings. Something about saving time so they can give people in line their change while it greets the next person up.

Didn't meant to imply anything. I'm glad you brought this up because it did bring to attention a new trend that I and others weren't aware of.

Hope you have a good weekend. When this does go mainstream, I really can see the day when you pull up and a computer uses voice recognition to take your order, you use your debit card to pay (save time from making change), and maybe 1 person hands out the food.

posted by INeedCoffee on May 21, 2009 at 08:53:32 pm     #  

My daughter used to work at the one in Rossford, and they use the outsourcing, and when I asked her why, she said that it saves time, that the people inside the building could be doing more inside, then standing in front of a register typing in orders.
The people are at home, on their computers, and get paid $.14 for each correct transaction.
I asked her why they don't use people in Ohio, and she said that Ohio hasn't registered to be allowed to do it, only New Mexico and a couple other states.

posted by bbaker172 on May 22, 2009 at 04:58:24 am     #  

We looked into this as a possible story... and I was definitely going to mention Toledo Talk as the source. Here's the statement we got, but never had a chance to share on-air:

Media Statement

“The call center test represents a very small number of restaurants

and is just one tool McDonald’s USA is evaluating to improve our customers’

restaurant experience.

The dedicated ordering function isolates the critical task of taking

the customer’s order to improve accuracy and allows in-restaurant crew

employees to focus on food preparation, customer satisfaction, and


We continue to learn from the test and results so far have been

positive. No final decision has been made regarding adding additional call

centers or restaurants.”

Joe Woods
Regional Marketing Manager

# # #

posted by BarrettAndrews on May 22, 2009 at 07:19:10 pm     #