Sep 25, 2019

McDonald's lets job seekers apply with Amazon's Alexa or Google Assistant

Photo: Michal Fludra/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Prospective McDonald's employees can now be directed to start an application via voice commands with Amazon's Alexa or Google Assistant, reports the AP.

Why it matters: The recruiting move helps McDonald's stand out in a U.S. labor market that has an unemployment rate of 3.7%. McDonald's is the first direct employer to use such a technology, which it developed itself.

The big picture: The fast food giant is trying to use tech to streamline every aspect of its business model.

  • McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook wants to turn the fast food chain into "the Amazon of excess sodium" by leaning into improved delivery technologies and machine learning, writes Bloomberg Businessweek.
  • Some franchisees have "balked at the costs of implementing [Easterbook's] vision, which includes drive-thrus equipped with license-plate scanners (the better to recall one’s previous purchases) and touchscreen kiosks that could ultimately suggest menu items based on the weather," per Bloomberg.

State of play: "Only a handful of other companies in the S&P 500, almost all of them California technology suppliers such as semiconductor giant Advanced Micro Devices and chipmaker Nvidia, have outperformed McDonald’s returns since" Easterbrook's ascension to the top job in 2015.

Go deeper: McDonald's latest acquisition is a game changer

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Watchdog finds Chicago police covered up details of Laquan McDonald shooting

Demonstrators protest as they celebrate the verdict in the murder trial of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke along Michigan Ave., Oct. 5, 2018 in Chicago. Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has released an inspector general's report that found that officers took part in a massive cover-up after the 2014 police shooting of Laquan McDonald, an unarmed black teenager.

Why it matters: "The documents offer an even closer look into the shooting and subsequent investigations that have dominated Chicago’s consciousness for nearly five years," the Chicago Sun-Times writes. The disclosures affirm the degree to which the police made false statements about the events on the night of the shooting, highlighting another instance of police using excessive and fatal force against African Americans.

Go deeperArrowOct 13, 2019

McDonald's rolls out test of plant-based Beyond Meat burger

Graphic: McDonald's

McDonald's will test the PLT — the plant, lettuce and tomato burger — for 12 weeks in 28 restaurants in Canada, the AP reports.

Between the buns: The burgers aren't really aimed at vegans or vegetarians, but at meat eaters who perceive plant-based eating as healthier and more environmentally conscious.

Go deeperArrowSep 27, 2019

Amazon wants Alexa to leave home

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Many of the most important of the dozens of new devices Amazon launched Wednesday have a similar goal: to get people to use Alexa, its voice assistant, outside the house.

Why it matters: Unlike its competitors Apple and Google, Amazon doesn't have its own smartphone platform to use as a home for its voice assistant. As a result, Amazon needs to find other places to put Alexa.

Go deeperArrowSep 26, 2019