How one high-tech McDonald’s is evolving an icon

Sarah Rand
January 8, 2018
Retail Gets Real
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From McDonald’s crew member to crew trainer to franchise owner, Carlos Mateos Jr. has done it all. Mateos got his start working part-time at his father’s McDonald’s and now owns the Arlington, Va. location where he first flipped burgers. “What you learn is priceless,” he says about skills — like teamwork and developing a sense of camaraderie — that he’s learned through the years. The Mateos family owns 16 locations in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

On this week’s episode of Retail Gets Real, Mateos discusses his career at the chain and how new automation technology is changing the McDonald’s experience.

Carlos Mateos Jr. (front left) with co-hosts Sarah Rand (back left) and Bill Thorne (front right).

Carlos Mateos Jr. (front left) with co-hosts Sarah Rand (back left) and Bill Thorne (front right).

Soon after renovating his father’s first restaurant, Mateos implemented technology like a mobile app and self-service kiosks, along with more service and product offerings like a bakery and table service. With automation prompting new aspects of the business, there is a greater need for the human element. “Come spend a day with me,” Mateos says to those who think robots might replace jobs.

“McDonald’s is one of the best stepping stones I’ve ever seen,” he says. “It’s also a phenomenal career.” Listen to the episode to learn how Mateos is using new automation technology to change the McDonald’s experience. For more great tech stories, check out NRF on Medium.

Sarah Rand is a co-host on NRF’s Retail Gets Real podcast. Meet all the co-hosts and learn more about the show.