McDonald's bringing 'build-your-own' burger kiosks to Australia

McDonald's is testing build-your-own burger technology that it plans to install throughout Australia over the next 12 months. Could build-your-own McDonald's burgers make it the the US? 

Mike Blake/Reuters/File
A McDonald's restaurant in Encinitas, Calif. The fast food giant is testing 'build-your-own' burger kiosks in Australia.

McDonald’s is testing next-generation technology for build-your-own burgers that it plans to install throughout Australia over the next 12 months.

For its BYO testing in Southern California, the chain is using an iPad-size screen mounted to the wall or ordering counter. But in one restaurant in western Sydney, Australia, McDonald’s has installed a tall, standalone touch-screen kiosk at which customers can choose all ingredients for the their burger and pay with a credit card there or with cash at the counter.

Diners can build a “Create Your Taste” custom burger beginning at AU$8.95 (US$7.80), with some add-ons carrying additional charges. Users also can choose to make their order a small or medium Create Your Taste Value Meal with fries and drink for AU$11.45 (US$9.98) or AU$11.95 (US$10.42), respectively.

Customers have the option of brioche or crusty bun or no bun. The next choice is the number of 110 gram (3.9 ounce) Angus patties desired, with additional patties at AU$1 each. Next option is choice of cheese and number of slices, followed by optional bacon, egg or cooked egg toppings (at AU$1 each). Sauces such as barbecue or chipotle mayo can be chosen. Fresh ingredients such as tomato, lettuce and Aussie favorite sliced beets carry no additional charge, but guacamole, grilled mushrooms, grilled pineapple or tortilla strips are each 50¢ additional.

After designing a meal, customers indicate on a schematic where they’re sitting in the restaurant and food is brought to them on wood platters. Fries are in a metal basket. Takeout meals are picked up at the counter.

Australian TV program “A Current Affair” showed how the BYO system works.

“McDonald’s is innovating and changing again to meet the needs of our customers,” McDonald’s Australia CEO Andrew Gregory told news.com.au. “What we’re really doing here is simply what our customers have asked us to do.”

Gregory said initial reaction to the technology has been “fantastic.” He added, “We are looking forward to rolling out the concept around the country in the coming months.” Newspaper The Australian quoted Gregory as saying McDonald’s intends to add BYO customization “over the next 12 months in every restaurant around Australia.” It has 900+ stores there.

McDonald’s has 10 stores in Australia doing home delivery, which the chain says it also will expand.

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