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Welcome to Bangalore, I Mean Jack-in-the-Box, May I Take Your Order

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Your burger-and-fries gets outsourced.

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"Your large fries and Diet Sprite are very important to us. Please wait for the next available representative."

Jack in the Box (JACK) is the latest fast-food chain to outsource drive-through order-taking: Representatives may hail from several states over, or even overseas. The trial run has been in effect since mid-2008 and includes 7 of the 30 Charlotte-area restaurants.

A spokesperson for the chain, Kathleen Anthony, claims outsourcing is necessary during peak order times, in order to relieve the burden placed on existing employees and improve order speed and accuracy. Anthony asserts outsourcing hasn't affected staff size, and that its adoption is completely voluntary.

Some Charlotte customers have noticed the change. One woman asked the order-taker where the person currently was. The voice answered, "Texas," but the customer suspected it might have been even further, given the "heavy accent." Others have questioned the viability of such a complicated set-up when a simpler procedure might elicit better results.

Though surprising, the practice is nothing new. McDonald's (MCD), Wendy's (WEN) and Hardee's (CKR) have all experimented with centralizing their drive-through order-takers, but have not yet gone overseas. Its effectiveness as a cost-cutting measure is still difficult to gauge.

For more on outsourcing, check out Hoofy and Boo's always astute report.


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