Sunday, April 10, 2005

A coffee from McDonalds? You mad?

Today, I purchased a latte frappe from McDonald’s. This is probably the 4th of 5th time I’ve transacted with McDonald’s in Australia. The one I visited today has a separate counter selling coffees, iced drinks, cakes and other café-like foods. It was a mess!

Here is a sketch I made on paint and Photoshop 7.0.

The counter is represented by the main, large white rectangle. A coffee machine (grey rectangle) sits at the left-most end of the counter. Above the coffee machine, a small display monitor (light blue box) shows a list of orders such that the coffee-man knows what to make. The monitor is facing in the direction denoted by the red surface on the box. Right of the coffee machine is a working space where accessories and cups are stored. The stacks of cups are represented by cute little circles. The red box represents the area which the customer and employee meet to discuss their transaction. The cash register is also in this region. A glass display cabinet (shown in green) is where the cakes, muffins, pies and little edible knick-knacks are exhibited. McDonald’s posters claim they are “fresh”. Two blenders are located beyond this display case, at the right-most end of the counter.

I ordered my latte frappe. From behind the counter at position C, the employee moved to position B to grab a cup. Then, she travelled to location E to prepare the drink. There was only one can of aerosol whipped cream in operation, so she had to find it (it happened to be with the cups at position B) and spray the drink at location E. She then realised that she also needed to sprinkle some chocolate powder in the top of the drink. She found it near position B. When it was finally done, she delivered it to me at position C. By then, she had already forgotten the next order, and had to move all the way to location A to read the display monitor.

The situation would have been comical if I was sitting at a table enjoying my meal instead of standing and waiting for a drink I had already paid for.

When designing a kitchen, the major necessities are arranged around the user. In most cases, the user needs to only move within a small triangular region to get to the stove and/or oven, fridge and preparation area.

This image from DIY data.

Clearly, this was not the model used when designing the comedic café counter at McDonald’s.

On another note, the coffee drink was not too good for the money I had to fork out. In hindsight, it was probably daft of me to get coffee from a fast food outlet. They should stick to producing fast burgers, not slow, yet dull coffee drinks. And I’m foolish.