The fast food chain's marketing stunt provides a glimpse into the world of retail automation

Thanks to McDonald’s, there really is such a thing as a free lunch! A McDonald’s in Boston is about to launch a Big Mac ATM that will allow customers to buy a Big Mac by using tweets as currency. The ATM will be available for one-day-only on January 31 to promote McDonald’s new Mac Jr. and Grand Mac. Anyone wanting a free meal just needs to provide their Twitter handle which the machine will use to send out a promotional tweet about the new burgers.


The Big Mac vending machine will be located in Boston’s Kenmore Square, a busy intersection by Fenway Park which will likely draw a crowd of passersby.  Supplied by a nearby McDonald’s restaurant, the burgers will be refilled on an ongoing basis to ensure freshness.

McDonald’s has been exploring automation in its stores since 2015 when it introduced touch-screen ordering kiosks. While the Big Mac ATM is more of a marketing stunt than a move to complete automation, the company is looking into technology that could result in the elimination of cashiers.

The fast food industry along with shipping warehouses are hotbeds right now for robots and automated technology. Many predict that it is not a question of if automation will come to these industries but rather a question of when. In a recent McKinsey article, a group of tech entrepreneurs, economists and academics discussed the state of automation and agreed that what will most likely come into fruition is a man and machine combination rather than a complete automation take over. Reminiscent of brands like Uber, the belief is that a man and machine combination create better service and increase demand.

McDonald’s

Thanks to McDonald’s, there really is such a thing as a free lunch! A McDonald’s in Boston is about to launch a Big Mac ATM that will allow customers to buy a Big Mac by using tweets as currency. The ATM will be available for one-day-only on January 31 to promote McDonald’s new Mac Jr. and Grand Mac. Anyone wanting a free meal just needs to provide their Twitter handle which the machine will use to send out a promotional tweet about the new burgers.

The Big Mac vending machine will be located in Boston’s Kenmore Square, a busy intersection by Fenway Park which will likely draw a crowd of passersby.  Supplied by a nearby McDonald’s restaurant, the burgers will be refilled on an ongoing basis to ensure freshness.