The McDonalds Mobile App: Fast Food Meets The Future

June 27, 2014         By: Eric Wagner

McDonalds Corporation has leaked that they are testing a pilot program using a newly developed mobile payment app ( geared to making their fast food even faster. The new McD app allows beta testers to bypass all human interaction in select stores in the Columbus, Georgia area. It is available for download in both the Android and iOS App store.

The “McD Ordering” app it should be noted, is not the first app available for ordering ahead; Chipotle Mexican Grill has unfurled a new app that allows their customers to order ahead and even pay with the app.

Also, Subway is testing an app in California that attempts to streamline the customer experience in the store. Starbucks has seen the most growth in their mobile payment app and they claim it now accounts for 14% of in store sales.  Different than the Starbuck payment app which requires an in store associate to scan the customer’s smartphone or tablet, the McD Ordering App has the customer scan a QR code in the store to reveal the customer’s order number so they can pick up the order without having to first interact with an associate.

According to company insiders, McDonalds is more interested in maximizing the customer’s in store experience than the extra value of this new mobile payment stream.  McDonalds also stands to gain from the synergy of the user transaction data in combination with the coupon app.  This way they will be able to precisely target the customer’s interests for future visits.

The wave of strikes at fast food establishments has been a shot in the arm to the fast food industry, and a real wake up call.

Necessity certainly is the mother of all invention and we are seeing rapid response from all the major fast service venues.  Just as Google has made the idea of a driverless taxi ferrying around customers a real possibility, now it’s time for a Fast Food experience sans the fast food worker.  It is clear that this is just a small step towards automating the swift service model, and a decided move towards reducing overhead and improving the overall customer experience.