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To Avoid Downsides, McDonald’s Stepped Late into Mobile Ordering

McDonald's mobile app

This month, McDonald’s Corp will start testing its US-based mobile ordering app which has been awaited for a very long period of time. The delay was to avoid all kinds of service hiccups that have been encountered by the digital debuts of other companies like Starbucks Corp.

Many restaurant chains along with their customers have faced a lot of challenges and drawbacks because of digital ordering. The current industry leader which is Domino’s Pizza Inc. nearly took years to perfect this game. As compared to Domino’s, Starbucks took less time but the coffee chain said in January that the mobile orders poured in faster than they could be processed. This resulted in creating backlogs that played a role in driving away walk-in customers.

This digitization is a step by McDonald’s to bring back the customers after 4 straight years of traffic declines. However, the project is full of risks which the company needs to take now.

McDonald’s executive vice president of operations, digital and technology, Jim Sappington said, “We can’t impact the speed or the quality of our food.” The company has built a new high-tech restaurant in Chicago’s West Loop having a redesigned kitchen with additional features to speed up the order delivery. It is equipped with some of the finest technology initiatives by the company.

If the mobile customers have to wait for the orders or of the famous French fries are served cold then this will leave the customers wondering ‘Why did I use the app?’ Sappington added, “Our focus is to make the overall experience clearly better.”

Automating the orders should reduce the transaction time, cut the costs, and free the workers from doing things like delivering the food to the table or in the cars. Recently, McDonald’s Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook said, “It’s better to be right than to be the first to market.”

Sappington plans multiple pilot tests to look for any errors and to streamline the integration of the new features with the existing technology of the company. After doing so, the app will be rolled out to 14,000 restaurants in the US and around 6,000 others in the UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, France, and China by the end of 2017.

McDonald’s is giving a lot of focus to its kitchen which is the heart of the restaurant and will play an integral part in the success of the app.

Holding 65,000 McDonald’s shares, Janna Sampson who is the co-chief investment officer at Oakbrook Investments LLC says, “The potential is that they can screw up the flow of the whole restaurant.” Necessary steps are being taken to avoid all sorts of kitchen hiccups. Restaurant operators are being invited to the Chicago warehouse to make them familiar with the “hub and spoke” kitchen layout.

The kitchen system clusters food preparation to increase the efficiency and the miles of the distance covered by the crew will be eliminated in this way.

The franchisees who are operating most of the US McDonald’s restaurants will be asked to sort out the human elements of digital ordering asking them to adjust the kitchen layouts, staffing, and workflow.

The app will be tracking the location of the customer to ensure that the orders are sent to the right restaurant and well-timed so that cold food is not delivered to them.

When the customers will be ordering through the restaurant, the app will ask for confirmation and payment before forwarding the order to the kitchen.

The final version of the app will ask the customers whether they want to choose table service, curbside delivery, or counter or drive-through pick.

According to Easterbrook, if 20 percent of the drive-through customers use curbside and another 20 percent use the pickup only lanes then the restaurants could actually serve 20 more cars in an hour. This, in turn, will lift the drive-through business in the US market.

image source

  • McDonald’s mobile app: timedotcom

About Palwasha Qasim

Palwasha Qasim is a graduate of the University of the Punjab in communication studies and an alum of the Global UGRAD Pakistan. She loves to write about technology news.