If your next career move is to become a Subway ‘Sandwich Artist’ – your future could be in jeopardy. Fast food, apparently, is too slow. The demands of the ‘instant’ generation ( generation Y) has forced fast food giants to seek different ways to fill people’s requests quicker, easier, and without error (aka without human contact).

Dominos has taken the bold step of introducing online ordering. For those of you that haven’t experienced dominos’ online ordering, next time your fridge is empty or there’s hungry teenagers to feed, I suggest you try it. It truly is amazing. Very easy, user friendly, and free from all human contact, which actually makes the ordering experience much more enjoyable. You can even view the status of your order – order being processed, pizzas being made, then cooked etc. (I think it’s a standard timer for all orders, but it is nice to see how it’s progressing from the comfort of your lounge chair). The only criticism I have is that it took me a good few minutes of clicking to figure out how to cancel a certain pizza or product from my order. From a marketing perspective, the ploy is ingenious. Whilst their major competitor was spruiking about having larger pizzas and based their whole marketing campaign on that fact, the apathetic Generation Y target market got a quicker, easier and instant way to place their orders. Dominos certainly did their homework here and I definitely think it’s paying off.

Subway is also recently trialing SMS ordering in New York City restaurants. You simply sign up for the service, order ahead by SMS and drop in to your local store to pick up your order, skipping the queue.

Similarly, McDonalds has been using hand-held ordering devices for some time now in selected US and UK restaurants. A staff member takes orders from those people standing in a queue and instantly places their order in the kitchen. McDonalds has also introduced touch screen ordering in some of their new stores, and LCD displays for drive-throughs.

Technological developments in this industry will continue to evolve to create a fuss-free, instant experience. Whilst the changes are certainly positive for the ‘time poor’, and from a marketing perspective are brilliant, I wonder about the implications this will have on our health. It almost seems ironic that whilst facing obesity issues and increasing regulations on advertising to children, the fast food giants are making ordering a meal even less labour intensive. It seems that the human society depicted in Disney Pixar’s WALL-E might not be that futuristic…