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    McDonald's Tests High-Tech Food Prep

    Chicago-area restaurants fry burgers on automated grill.

    CHICAGO ? In a test that if successful could influence foodservice production throughout the industry, McDonald's plans to fry up hamburgers using an automated grill that dispenses patties directly onto the griddle from a separate freezer compartment, reported Forbes.

    If successful, this high-tech solution could reduce labor as well as fresher sandwiches. Developed in Sweden, this equipment is only one of the newest strategies McDonald's is trying at its Romeoville, Illinois site.

    "We want to be contemporary, hip and today," said Charlie Bell, chief operating officer of McDonalds. "We believe innovation is one of the fundamental engines for growth."

    The company is also experimenting with automation to increase its French fries production during the lunch hour rush. Electronic kiosks -- allowing customers to key in orders -- have already moved beyond the lab into actual restaurants in two U.S. markets, and will be considered for wider distribution at the end of the year.

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