Amazon Echo

An Amazon 3rd Generation Echo Dot. 

Soon, people across the world will be able to apply for a job at the Golden Arches as easily as requesting the newest Billie Eilish song or adding pizza rolls to their shopping list.

The fast food franchise is rolling out its new Apply Thru program, billed as “the world’s first voice-initiated application program.” The program is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant devices, and it has already begun in the US and across Europe.

The process streamlines the application experience. Once an applicant has initiated the process and selected the location of their choice, they only need to answer a few basic questions, such as their name and their age.

Afterwards, the applicant receives a text message that enables them to continue their application online. Applications are reviewed daily, and it is possible for an applicant to get a response the same day.

The move came out of McDonald’s drive to remain innovative and relevant in a digital age. The online process offers flexibility and caters to young people’s increasingly hectic schedules.

Joe Burger, the owner of five McDonald’s franchises across Knoxville, including the location on Cumberland Avenue, commented on the motivations behind the switch.

“Everybody’s more and more on their devices and phones, and so this just gives us another way to meet folks where they’re at and give them another option to communicate with us,” Burger said. “We always like to talk to people face-to-face, but people’s schedules don’t always allow that.”

As the program is still in its infancy, it is too early to judge Apply Thru’s efficacy. Its release coincided with a global fall hiring push that is expected to provide over five hundred jobs in the Knoxville area, according to a press release from the fast food chain.

The Apply Thru program is a component of the larger Made at McDonald’s campaign. The campaign aims to highlight the opportunities a career at McDonald’s provides its employees, including acquiring lifelong skills and relationships that are applicable to other jobs. Anne Christensen, brand representative for McDonald’s, explained the opportunities that this program provides.

“There are a number of employees who have gone on to become nurses and IT professionals, doctors and elected officials, so it provides you with a training ground to learn the skills that you need and that you can apply whether you choose to move up through McDonald’s corporate or onto some other profession,” Christensen said.

The campaign also includes the Archways to Opportunity program, which provides up to $2,500 in tuition assistance to employees pursuing a college education, as well as other benefits. The benefits the company offers its workers are often overlooked by the general public, so the company hopes the campaign helps to entice more young people to work there.

“We offer paid time off, vacations, that sort of thing. I don’t think a lot of folks know about that, so hopefully we can continue to get the word out on that and attract more folks to work for us,” Burger said.

McDonald’s Apply Thru is currently available on devices compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

More information about the Made at McDonald’s campaign and the Archways to Opportunity program can be found here and here.

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