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McDonald’s Adds Order-Ahead Options to its Menu

March 9, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

Order ahead options aren’t exactly new, but these aren’t widely seen options, either. That’s changing fairly rapidly, as eateries from Starbucks to Dunkin’ Donuts and plenty of places in between add the system on.

Perhaps the most recent entry in the field is none other than one of the biggest names in the fast food field: McDonald’s.

McDonald’s recently announced plans to bring the service to 20,000 locations throughout the world, including of course the United States, but also going to France, Canada, the UK, and even Australia. The service will directly connect with the current mobile app.

The reports suggest that McDonald’s has two major focus points with its app development: one, it’s looking to ramp up speed in the experience. Ordering and paying for material before even walking in the door is a great way to trim a few seconds off the experience and making a fast food run even faster.

Two, it’s looking to keep pace with competitors. Given that Taco Bell, Chick-Fil-A and Domino’s Pizza have similar systems in place, McDonald’s had to see and match lest it lose ground.

In fact, the reports suggest McDonald’s may actually be near the tip of the spear on this one; not many companies have put these tools in place, and McDonald’s would be one of the latest such additions, putting it ahead of the still fairly wide body of restaurants that don’t have such services in place. That’s good news for McDonald’s, especially short term.

It could get even more interesting long-term, especially if McDonald’s carries on with its automation plans. Consider a McDonald’s about half the size of normal, no seats, no dining in option, no play place; just a drive-thru window where you pick up the food you ordered and paid for in advance, bagged up and waiting, made only minutes before.

The fast food—indeed, the entire restaurant market—is poised for big changes to come with mobile technology. Order ahead, pay ahead, pick up and go…the fast are about to get even faster, and even the slower restaurants might get a little speedier besides. That’s good news for many, though not for everyone, and we’ll likely see these developments start up soon.