Robots Will Transform Fast Food

Visitors to Henn-na, a restaurant outside Nagasaki, Japan, are greeted by a peculiar sight: their food being prepared by a row of humanoid robots that bear a passing resemblance to the Terminator.

The “head chef,” incongruously named Andrew, specializes in okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake. Using his two long arms, he stirs batter in a metal bowl, then pours it onto a hot grill. While he waits for the batter to cook, he talks cheerily in Japanese about how much he enjoys his job. His robot colleagues, meanwhile, fry donuts, layer soft-serve ice cream into cones, and mix drinks. One made me a gin and tonic.

H.I.S., the company that runs the restaurant, as well as a nearby hotel where robots check guests into their rooms and help with their luggage, turned to automation partly out of necessity. Japan’s population is shrinking, and its economy is booming; the unemployment rate is currently an unprecedented 2.8 percent. “Using robots makes a lot of sense in a country like Japan, where it’s hard to find employees,” CEO Hideo Sawada told me.

Read more at The Atlantic:


The Food Almost Completely Disappears in McDonald’s Latest Minimalist Ads

Got McDonald’s?

For years, TBWA Paris has been on a mission to advertise McDonald’s in the most minimalist ways imaginable. This started in 2013 with extreme close-up photographs of the food, with almost zero branding whatsoever. (They don’t need any, was the point, the menu items being so instantly recognizable.) The following year, the agency introduced Pictograms, in which the food was reduced down to very spare illustrations.

Now, it’s disappearing altogether.


TBWA’s latest ads for the fast-food giant feature minimalist illustrations of packaging for top sellers like the Big Mac, french fries and Chicken McNuggets—with only a few crumbs of food seen in each ad, the rest having been devoured by an unseen diner.

There’s not much else in the ads either—just the Golden Arches and the product name (and not even that for the fries), against solidly colorful backdrops. The point, once again, is that McDonald’s food is so well known and understood that it speaks for itself, even in its absence. Also, as TBWA says, it’s “so good that in the end, there is only one crumb left.”

The campaign follows another artful series of print ads earlier this fall in which the agency used intricate light sculptures to create glowing facsimiles of menu items, to promote the chain’s late-night hours.

from AdWeek:

KFC Quietly Followed 11 Herbs and Spices on Twitter, Then Waited to See If Anyone Would Notice

If you check KFC’s Twitter account you’ll see that the chain follows six men named Herb and the five women who made up the Spice Girls. Normally, who a brand follows on Twitter wouldn’t be worth a story but the restaurant, known for its fried chicken recipe with 11 herbs and spices, found a fun albeit strange way to make it newsworthy.

Yesterday, Twitter user @edgette22 noticed what was going on with KFC’s Twitter follows and his tweet soon went viral.
“We planted this on Twitter over a month ago,” said Freddie Powell, creative director at Wieden+Kennedy. “Frankly, we weren’t sure if anybody was going to find it. Sometimes you just have to put stuff out into the universe and cross your fingers that the internet will work its magic.”

KFC Twitter Account

As of writing this the tweet has over 250,000 retweets and over 560,000 likes.

KFC’s statement is a bit more playful than W+K’s: “Our vault was getting cleaned so I thought the best place to keep the secret recipe was on Twitter,” said Bentley McBentleson, digital marketing manager for KFC U.S. “‘No one’s going to look at who we’re following!’ I thought. Boy was I wrong. I’ve made a huge mistake.”

from AdWeek:

5 Lessons the Fast-Food Industry Can Teach Brands About Disruption

Staring across the digital landscape, the word “disruption” has become an increasingly familiar mantra. However, rather than making the necessary revolutionary changes that will protect and grow their business, many organizations are instead choosing to continuously make marginal improvements to the status quo. Isn’t that missing the whole point?


In a world where technology and consumer demands are evolving at an exponential rate, I would argue that all ecosystems must change to meet the rising level of expectation from consumers. “Disruption” is in danger of becoming a cliché, and there are no longer any excuses for failing to see what the immediate future has in store.

1. Do not underestimate the value of taking risks.

2. Encourage staff to fail in order to deliver meaningful culture change.

3. Understand that everything in your industry looks the same to consumers.

4. Innovate to stand out from the crowd.

5. Accept risk and failure.

Read more at AdWeek:

McDonald’s Made Ridiculously Groovy Posters for Its Chicken Tenders Dipping Sauces

The sauces that come with McDonald’s new Buttermilk Crispy Tenders aren’t just seasonings for your chicken fingers. They’re full-blown identities.

A new campaign uses a set of elaborate posters and accompanying descriptions to promote the nine dipping options that come with the limited-edition menu item. Which type you choose says a lot about who you are.

Read more at AdWeek: