McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) is testing the hip factor once again. According to several newspapers, the fast-food company is running a pilot program of some ATM-like kiosks that provide some pretty techno-savvy services in one of its Chicago restaurants.
According to the article, the restaurant will feature a device called Blaze Net, which peddles songs and ring tones and allows users to print photographs or even surf the Web.
This definitely harks back to several short-term or tested initiatives in McDonaldLand last year -- such as music-download promotions and DVD-laden kiosks. McDonald's is clearly looking for ways to distinguish itself from the competition by appealing to the young and the tech-savvy. One day, any quick-stop area might be fair game for a whole slew of technological fun and games, given that technology is getting closer to ubiquity all the time; meanwhile, McDonald's has always had a knack with the young.
On the other hand, fast food meeting fast fun means using your greasy fingers to pull a digital photograph out of a machine, or accidentally smearing ketchup on your cell phone in the course of downloading some ring tones.
For the time being, the news is just interesting in passing, considering that this is only a very limited pilot that may, in the long run, be neither here nor there. However, as the fast-food purveyor continues to try to distinguish itself from rivals like Wendy's (NYSE: WEN ) and Burger King, it appears to be working hard at figuring out how to give the younger generation plenty of reasons for lovin' it.
Alyce Lomaxdoes not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.