Next time you walk into McDonald's, don't be shocked if it looks a bit like a Panera or Starbucks.
Cincinnati area McDonald's are rolling out major upgrades, updating their look and giving customers new ways to order, the most prominent being giant touch screen kiosks in the middle of the restaurant.
So we went inside one McDonald's that just made the conversion, to see how customers are reacting to the new digital changes.
We saw employees with lots of patience showing customers how to us the new electronic kiosks, in a newly renovated restaurant on North Bend Road in Cincinnati's Monfort Heights neighborhood.
Customer Jean Yinger said it was like using an extra large phone (a very large phone).
"I think it will take a little getting used to, but it'll be awesome," she said.
Her granddaughter Evelyn was more impressed.
"It was really fun," she said, even though she had trouble reaching the top of the screen.
Major investment in restaurants
It's all part of a massive re-investment by McDonald's, adding kiosks to 4,000 stores this year, along with new counters and updated decor.
Franchise owner Erica Shadoin says customers are"lovin it."
"It's easy, it's bright, people are excited to see the modernization and changes we're making, so we are seeing a lot of positive feedback," Shadoin said.
Kiosks are just part of the improvements coming to McDonald's. They are also introducing table service.
Once you order from a kiosk, you'll get a sign to put on your table, and you'll then sit down and wait for table service to arrive with your food.
"Grab a cup and take your number," Shadoin said, "and they are able to find you and they bring your food right out to you."
Concerned about job losses? McDonald's says the kiosks are not eliminating any jobs, and says cashiers will still be available for those who want a personal touch.
One downside, though: credit or debit cards only. If you want to pay with cash, you will have to line up for the cashier.
Reasons for improvements
So why do it? Sure, it makes the stores look more high tech, and speeds up lines, but there may be another reason.
Business Insider says customers order more from kiosks (since they can customize their order, and there are no worries about being embarrassed), and reports that kiosk stores are averaging a 5 percent sales increase.
Greg Weisland says long cashier lines send him back to his car.
"There's sometimes where I've waited 10 or 15 minutes," he said. " And you leave, and they lose business."
But now, he'll stay.
Many stores are also rolling out curbside pickup, where you order in advance on your phone.
And last year, McDonald's rolled out home delivery, all to get an edge in the rapidly changing fast food wars.
"Don't Waste Your Money" is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. ("Scripps").
"Like" John Matarese on Facebook
Follow John on Twitter (@JohnMatarese)
Sign up for John's free newsletter byclicking here
For more consumer news and money saving advice, go to www.dontwasteyourmoney.com
Contact John at email@example.com