McDonald’s is going mobile, years after many other companies took the obvious, inevitable plunge – though it may only be a US option for now.
McDonald’s can rarely be accused of resting on its laurels.
In recent years, restaurant redesigns, coffee shops, children’s play areas and even salads have all played their part in maintaining the fast food giant’s significance.
As its audience became more calorie-conscious, and movies such as Super Size Me peered deep into the industry in general, McDonald’s has always found a way to tweak its offering and appeal to huge numbers of customers.
The company’s global revenues in 2005 were $19bn, rising to $28bn in 2013, following investment in theMcDonald’s offering. However, numbers have dropped ever since.
So the company’s response is obvious: go digital.
According to Reuters, McDonald’s has already begun testing a mobile ordering app in the US, this being the best way to win back the customers lost since 2013.
Pointedly, it’s entering the mobile world long after other food and drink outlets, with Starbucks one chief example. There is also the likes of Domino’s and umbrella operations such as Just Eat to compete with.
“It’s better to be right than to be first to market,” said Steve Easterbrook, chief executive of McDonald’s.
The plan for the app is in stages. It will be linked to the customer’s location, meaning orders are sent to the right restaurant, at the right time. Timing is key, as always.
However, given the speed with which McDonald’s prepares its meals, there’s not a whole lot of time saved. When the customer arrives at the restaurant, the app asks for confirmation and payment before sending orders to the kitchen.
The final version of the app will also ask customers to choose table service, counter or drive-through pick-up, or curbside delivery.
Easterbrook said if 20pc of drive-through customers use curbside and another 20pc use the lanes for pick-up only, restaurants could serve another 20 cars per hour. Extrapolated over the entire franchise, that’s a big uptick.