McDonald’s Looks to the Future with the Introduction of Mobile Ordering

Apparently, McDonald’s Corp has begun testing its very long-anticipated US mobile ordering app. The goal of this strategy is to avoid the kinds of service speed bumps that many big food companies like Starbucks have discovered in the digital transition.

Digital ordering has long been a desired addition to restaurant chains and their customers, but it has not been an easy transition. As a matter of fact, the industry leader in digital ordering—Domino’s Pizza (I know, right?)—took many years to perfect it. Starbucks managed to figure it out in less time than that, but it was still not an overnight success. Still, the coffee chain says that mobile orders in January actually flooded through much faster than they could actually process the orders. As a matter of fact, the mobile orders came in so fast that it created order backlogs that actually caused walk-in customers to walk out!

Of course, McDonald’s sees the mobile ordering option as a means to win back many of the customers it has continued to lose for the past four years straight, though the project is not foolproof, obviously.

“We can’t impact the speed or the quality of our food,” explains McDonald’s executive vice president of operations, digital, and technology Jim Sappington at a temporary warehouse space in the West Loop area of Chicago, where McDonald’s has built a new high tech restaurant which features a redesigned kitchen that improves speed order flow.

Sappington goes on to theorize, for example, that if customers order McDonald’s famous french fries on the digital app, but the food still comes cold, or if they will have to wait for the order “you get a question of ‘Why did I use the app?'” As such, he advises, “Our focus is to make the overall experience clearly better.”

Indeed, the fast food innovator note that automating more orders should cut transactions down significantly and reduce errors as well as free up workers to perform other tasks better suited to humans (like delivering the food to tables or to drive-thru customers); at least, in theory.

Furthermore, McDonald’s vice president of US digital, Vander Ploeg notes, “We look forward to learning from our customers in these markets as they order ahead, pay within the app and choose one of the various ways to pick up and enjoy their favorite McDonald’s foods. From the app to our restaurant operations, we’ve taken a fully integrated approach to ensure a seamless customer experience that we think our customers will love.”