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McDonald’s is putting its new ‘Experience of the Future’ in area locations. Here’s what it does.

McDonald’s is modernizing its local locations to help customers save time.

The popular fast-food giant’s transformation of all 18 of its Butler County restaurants features self-order kiosks in the dining room, digital menu boards in the drive-thru and Mobile Order & Pay with curbside service option using the McDonald’s mobile app.

The “Experience of the Future” convenience already is in motion in the region, with three locations receiving the changes since late 2017 and at least five more slated to get them this year, according to Phil Saken, communications & brand reputation manager for McDonald’s USA’s Ohio and Michigan regions.

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“All of this work is in the interest of building a better McDonald’s for our customers,” Saken said. “We’re transforming the brand and investing in the communities we serve for the long-term. Many of the additions customers will see at the restaurants intend to make their experience with McDonald’s fun, easy, convenient and, of course, delicious.”

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The McDonald’s modernizations are set to be completed by early 2020 not only on the county level, but also at the fast-food chain’s more than 600 Ohio locations, as well as on the national level, Saken said.

The changes McDonald’s is implementing are designed to help customers order at their own pace, customize their order however they like and relax at their tables while they wait for the food and beverages to be prepared and delivered to them, he said.

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The kiosks function like giant iPads and include everything on the restaurant’s menu. Customers can choose between using the kiosk or ordering at the front counter.

Outside, the Mobile Order & Pay feature allows customers to order on the McDonald’s app and roll onto the lot of any McDonald’s. Once there, a geofence encircling the restaurant signals the customer’s arrival and when he or she checks in on the app, the order is prepared and can be delivered curbside or picked up at the drive-thru inside the restaurant.

Digital menu boards inside the restaurant behind the front counter are part of the upgrades and drive-thrus also will be upgraded to include the same technology, Saken said.

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“They’ll help customers very clearly see both what’s new for them and their personal favorites so they can choose what they want,” he said.

That’s an important part of the equation, as the fast-food giant gets roughly 70 percent of its business from drive-thru orders.

Locations already incorporating the Experience of the Future at McDonald’s concept include 1771 S. Erie Blvd. in Hamilton and 1301 S. Breiel Blvd in Middletown late last year, as well as 601 Locust St. in Oxford and 2351 N. Verity Parkway in Middletown this year.

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Three Hamilton McDonald’s are modernizing this spring, including 20 S. Martin Luther King Blvd. (under construction), 1420 Millville Ave. (slated to start this week) and 1331 NW Washington Blvd. (scheduled to start next month), Saken said.

Locations in West Chester Twp. at 7679 Doc Drive and 8251 Princeton-Glendale Road in West Chester will be upgraded this summer, he said.

For Warren County, two locations are already transformed — 3570 Commerce Drive in Middletown and 5301 Kings Island Drive in Deerfield Twp. The other seven are expected to be completed by the end of 2019, Saken said.

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He reiterated what McDonald’s officials have said repeatedly since the concept was launched, namely that adding kiosks won’t result in mass layoffs, but will instead shift some cashiers to other parts of the restaurant.

“Restaurants are finding that they need hire extra people both in customer service and in the kitchen to satisfy the increased orders from the new order points,” he said. “Owner/operators have told me repeatedly that these upgrades aren’t costing jobs, they’re adding jobs.”

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