High Technology Arrives at Fifth Avenue McDonald’s

By Nami Nagaoka

The McDonald’s adjacent to Youngstown State University was recently renovated to include new technology designed to enhance customer experience.

Beki Badila, a supervisor at McDonald’s, said they changed it to a more modern style.

“[We are] trying to fit in all of the changes that YSU is doing, trying to make a connection in this community,” she said.

New updates include more outlets and USB plugs at every table near a wall, free Wi-Fi and digital self-ordering kiosks.

“[Customers] can walk right up to the kiosks and place your order,” Badila said. “We are trying to change the culture.”

Badila said some assistants are always by the kiosks during peak hour for the people who don’t know how to use them.

Customers order and pay at the kiosks with a credit card or debit card. They take a table number and their food is then delivered to their table.

“We are still busier [than before the renovation], but [kiosks] help us be able to take care of more customers,” she said.

Badila said people can customize their food with the kiosks, such as removing pickles from a burger or adding sugar to their coffee.

Construction started in early August and finished in about three weeks.

“We wanted to be done quickly, so that YSU students can come over and enjoy it,” Badila said.

Seth Nycum, a sophomore majoring in physical education at YSU, said he currently lives at the University Edge and uses McDonald’s drive-thru once every two to three weeks.

“Two drive-thrus make it so much different because they were so busy before,” Nycum said. “There were a lot of times I thought about going there, then I didn’t [because of its long line].”

Nycum said that a couple of times, he pulled his car in and went to the Taco Bell near McDonald’s.

“I think people now get in and out very quickly,” Nycum said. “For business, if their drive-thru place has a long line, they are losing customers like crazy.”

This McDonald’s is open 24 hours.

“It’s nice to have at least one place open [in the early morning],” Nycum said.

Kiara Price, a junior majoring in biology at YSU, said she goes to McDonald’s almost every morning for breakfast.

“Two [drive-thru] lines are too crowded,” she said. “It’s less wait if I go inside rather than going outside. They need more workers especially after the renovation,” Price said.

“[Having kiosks makes the orders] quick and easy,” she said. “It’s smart that they built that. Inside looks great, it’s beautiful. It just looks modern.”

Price said it can be frustrating when trying to use Pete’s Points. She said she always has to wait.

“They don’t know how to use [Pete’s Points], so they have to call their manager. If I use a debit card, then it’s faster,” Price said.

Badila said they are currently hiring.

“We are always flexible,” Badila said. “We have scholarships available for students.”

McDonald’s received $200,000 from the YSU Foundation for these updates, which was presented at the opening ceremony on Sept. 20.