Surprising voice takes orders at Mendota Heights McDonald’s

A new approach to the drive-through is amazing customers at the McDonald’s in Mendota Heights.

"Hello," says a voice. "Welcome to McDonald’s."

Fries are getting scooped up. Nuggets are getting packed up. And the meals are getting happy, but there’s something new on the menu at the Mendota Heights McDonald’s.

In the age of accelerating artificial intelligence, an automated voice is taking orders at the drive-through with customers in for quite a surprise when they drive up and find out the source of the voice.

"It was me," Andrew Gotham tells a shocked customer. 

"It was him?" the woman says and points to another woman in the car. "She was just saying they don’t have people that work there anymore."

The 19-year-old Gotham is a fast food funny man, putting on a one-man show every weekend.

In his free time, Andrew is a master of role-playing games and enjoys acting out characters.

"So I was thinking ‘Hey, how could I bring that into work?’ Maybe have a little bit of fun," he said.

His drive-through voice started as an English accent, but when he got too many questions about how long he’d been in the country, he settled on the robot.

The boss found out about his unusual drive-through employee from customers, and decided it was unique and tasteful and maybe even good for business.

"We’re always trying to give the customer a great experience and give them reasons to come back and visit more often," said operator Pat Duval.

"My managers point to me and say ‘Hey, how do you like my robot?’" Andrew joked.

Some customers come back just to order from the "robot", but putting a face to the voice still surprises a lot of folks.

For now, you might catch him at the drive-through for dinners on Saturdays and lunch on Sundays.

Gotham is in a college engineering, drafting, and design program preparing for a career building — you guessed it — robots.

But for now, he’s turning the tables on automation.

"AI’s not taking my job," he said. "I’m taking its job!"