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Innovation

Want to disinfect your iPhone? Go to a McDonald's restroom

You've never seen anything like this. Well, I certainly haven't.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer on
McDonald's logo on a city background.

Actual genius?

McDonald's/Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk

Imagine this.

You go to a McDonald's and do something a little bit different.

No, you don't go through the drive-thru and complain it's taking too long.

Instead, you choose to go back in time a little, order at the counter, and sit down in a pleasantly plastic booth, on pleasantly plastic chairs.

You look around and bathe in the brightness of it all. You reminisce about times spent in McDonald's, years before. Perhaps you even order an ice cream.

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But then you feel like you need the restroom.

In some McDonald's, this wasn't always a happy affair. Constant foot traffic -- and constant lack of bathroom etiquette -- isn't easy to manage.

I guarantee, though, that one relatively new attraction may change your mind about McDonald's facilities.

May I present the WOSH? This is the most fascinating, moving, invigorating washroom idea I may have ever seen.

It's a sustainable handwashing stand.

I hear you cry, "What's the big deal?" Yes, sustainable is a thing and washing became a thing during the pandemic. But seriously, stop with this saving the Earth thing. We're talking about McDonald's here. Meat won't save the Earth.

Ah, but the WOSH has a highly creative element: A slot into which you slip your smartphone in order to keep it smart and clean.

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I know, I know. It sounds odd. And yes, I should mention this invention is only available in Japanese McDonald's.

But please, watch this thing in action and wonder whether you, too, might want to avail yourself of this joy.

The WOSH reuses 98% of the water it uses. The makers say that "a pleasing ring of light appears when you start washing your hands, intuitively counting down the recommended 30 seconds. Naturally form proper hygiene habits."

Then there's the promise of 99.9% sterilization for your phone, thanks to deep ultraviolet light.

And goodness, you're surely aware that your smartphone is likely one of the filthiest items in your regular daily life.

But additional goodness, doesn't this seem like a fine idea?

What a wonderfully thoughtful way to offer your customers something more than they might expect.

McDonald's has been on something of a technological surge lately. If these WOSH's were installed in US McDonald's, might they become a genuine attraction for customers?

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Buy a burger and get a disinfected phone for free!

Oh, I fear not every American McDonald's customer may appreciate this. How can this phone disinfector possibly be kept clean when everything around it isn't? And how could McDonald's possibly maintain it when it can't even keep the ice cream machines working?

Of course, fast food brands in America currently feel quite ambivalent about having customers inside their restaurants at all. Staffing has been a problem. The pandemic helped drive-thru and delivery become a vast opportunity. So why bother using up so much real estate for relatively low returns?

Then again, perhaps it's never wise to underestimate the human fascination with the unexpected.

Why, McDonald's in the US is already charging more for its food, so perhaps it can drift upscale and offer delightful little touches -- even in its restrooms.

One can but dream.

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