The magic behind the order screens of fast food restaurants

Or why buying should be easy

Hey everyone. Welcome back.

I have a confession to make. I indulged in the terrible pleasures of a fast food burger last week. I feel incredibly ashamed of my actions.

But in my defence, not all is lost. I noticed a neat psychological effect caused by the order screens.

This happened in Prague, Czechia. Here I was at 9 PM with a belly roaring so loud it would scare lions away looking at the food court options. You had the typical McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, along with some other not-so-well-known restaurants.

Instinctively, I leaned towards the well-known brands. But why? After all, there were far more delicious options like Chinese, Thai, Indian, and even Kebabs (is there anything better than eating a late-night kebab? It's the taste of heavens, I tell you).

I'm a massive hater of fast food, but still, I went for a Royal Deluxe from Mr. Mc. And that got me thinking - why?

Well, one thing that's pretty well known is the power of the brand. Wherever you go, you know what to expect from a McDonald's burger or a Starbucks coffee. It's a worldwide brand, you know the options, and you know how to order. That's why you see tourists flocking to those places in every European tourism hotspot.

But I think there's something else. These order screens also play a role when you're abroad.

I don’t understand Czech, but I do understand numbers

As you can imagine, my knowledge of Czech is limited to the bare essentials: hello, thank you, and a few swear words. Ordering anything is usually a stressful experience. But these order screens save me. I need zero human interaction to get food - I place my order on a screen, and then I look at the numbers to see when it's ready.

I suspect this has a big impact for tourists and more. It's just so much easier when you're tired and don't want to interact with anyone.

There's a lesson here. What can we do to reduce the friction for our buyers? I'm not talking only about UI and checkouts - I'm talking about psychological friction. What can we do to make the purchase feel easy?

Thank you for reading. And don’t forget to eat healthy.

If you enjoyed it please show some love on the thread on Twitter.