It looks like McDonald's, the largest fast-food restaurant in the world, is finally going to offer a mobile app that will allow its customers to pre-order their food, pay for their food, and then simply pick it up and avoid the long lines and register. McDonald's has already added digital kiosks to 7,000 restaurants that do pretty much the same thing, but they cost the company $125,000 per restaurant, and you still have to go inside to order. Considering a significant number of their customers use the drive-thru, the idea of standing in line to order, pay for their purchase, and then wait in line for their order to be processed is not a McDonald's customer's idea of 'fast-food.'
Paying for your food and/or drinks is already a reality at stores like Starbucks and Chick-fil-A, and while reluctant to start an ordering app, both companies are finding great success. Customers love the opportunity to pre-order and pre-pay and the retailer loves the fact that they can get the order ready and receive their money before the customer even arrives. The order is more accurate because no human intervention is necessary to place the order – of course, there are times when the retailer messes up fulfilling the order, but that happens regardless of the ordering technique. With no money exchanging hands, they are no chance of theft or incorrect change.
McDonald's has already utilized customer smartphones with the use of an app that allows you to locate where McDonald's stores are located, see their menu items, and even receive coupons to tempt you in what purchases you make. McDonald's already allows you to pay via NFC, but the new McDonald's app will allow you to place your order ahead of time, so it will be ready when your arrive. It will allow you to skip lines at the register, avoid interacting with restaurant employees or exchanging money. Another beautiful thing about mobile apps is their ability to remember what you ordered in the past, allowing for your favorite breakfast or lunch to be ordered even faster. By remembering orders, it makes it easy to add up rewards points and track when you received points.
A McDonald's pay and order app makes sense and many might even wonder why it has taken them so long to release one in the first place. McDonald's has about 14 million downloads for its current apps and that number should go way up once the newer app gains the additional features. According to a report out of Business Insider, McDonald's is due to start using the new app/ordering service during 2017 in the US, Australia, Canada, France, and the UK. During 2018 it should be available worldwide, which means at all 20 to 25 thousand McDonald's restaurants.