McDonald's tests mobile ordering from iOS app ahead of global rollout

Posted:
in iPhone edited March 2017
McDonald's has started to test mobile ordering of food from some of its restaurants, with customers in areas of Washington and California among the first to try out the iOS app's new feature, which the fast food chain hopes to spread globally later this year.




Customers will be able to place their order from the iOS app before arrival, with the app tracking the user's location to make sure the right restaurant, according to Reuters. The location tracking will also allow the restaurant to start preparing the order a short time before the customer is expected to turn up, timing the order's completion for their arrival to keep the food as fresh as possible.

Before orders are delivered to the restaurant's kitchen, customers will have to confirm and pay for it via the app, though the final version will also include options for table service, counter pickup, a drive-through pickup, and curbside delivery. AppleInsider has asked for clarification on whether this will use Apple Pay or some other payment method for Apple devices.

Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook suggests that if 20 percent of drive-through customers used curbside delivery and another 20 percent used the drive-through lanes for pickup only, restaurants would be able to serve another 20 cars per hour on average. Drive-through business is the biggest source of revenue for the company in the United States, accounting for approximately 70 percent of sales.




Mobile ordering is live at 29 restaurants in Monterey and Salinas, California as of Wednesday, with an extra 51 restaurants in Spokane, Washington set to join the pilot scheme on March 20.

Following the trial, McDonald's expects to start rolling out the app to most of the other 14,000 restaurants in the United States, as well as 6,000 located in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, and Australia later this year.

Initially announced as part of a financial release at the beginning of March, McDonald's digital expansion will also see a greater presence of ordering kiosks in restaurants. The kiosks will be able to bring up the customer's favorite and previous orders from the app, as well as preferred payment methods, to speed up the ordering process.

McDonald's is relatively late compared to its competition in providing mobile ordering to its customers. Major chains such as Domino's Pizza and Starbucks have offered app-based ordering for a number of years, while a collection of startups are also making it easy to order food from a smartphone.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    Something is fishy about this. Location tracking is 100% not necessary in this context. Taco Bell has already mastered this with no location tracking. It is already Fast Food. It takes literally 2 minutes to prepare ones meal. No one needs a "head start" based on location tracking.

    At Taco Bell, you place your order with the App, and when you arrive at the Drive Thru, you're just bypassing the "talking-to-the-moron-thru-the-speaker" except to let them know you've arrived. They immediately begin making your meal and its ready as soon as you pull up to the next window. No more advance notice than that is needed.
    calisockrolid
  • Reply 2 of 22
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    We
    Something is fishy about this. Location tracking is 100% not necessary in this context. Taco Bell has already mastered this with no location tracking. It is already Fast Food. It takes literally 2 minutes to prepare ones meal. No one needs a "head start" based on location tracking.

    At Taco Bell, you place your order with the App, and when you arrive at the Drive Thru, you're just bypassing the "talking-to-the-moron-thru-the-speaker" except to let them know you've arrived. They immediately begin making your meal and its ready as soon as you pull up to the next window. No more advance notice than that is needed.
    It takes a lot more than 2 min when you do decent size orders, and even small ones. If they know 20 people will likely arrive with burger orders in the next 10 minutes (because of location), they'll start earlier to prepare them so its not a big crush and everyone gets delayed (even the ones not ordering those burgers). They could also reassign personnel temporarily to fullfill orders/

     location tracking would make it possible for them to optimize orders group of orders on when then will likely arrive at the store.  You could call it JIT ( Just it Time) for the fast food industry. In logistics and manufacturing, timing and location is important to keep costs down and improving speed.

    jbishop1039mike1StrangeDays
  • Reply 3 of 22
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    This probably uses the same type of apps that's in the kiosks (these are everywhere around here), that way people could order the same way no matter where they are.

    Eventually, it is obvious they'll mostly automate the kitchen. Keeping some people to serve customers up front and a few managers to take care of the back.
  • Reply 4 of 22
    Welcome to 2010. McDonald's how grown so monolithic it can barely move.
  • Reply 5 of 22
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,279member
    bdkennedy said:
    Welcome to 2010. McDonald's how grown so monolithic it can barely move.
    How so? I know of very few restaurants that have iOS ordering. Plus, McDonald's was quick to adopt Apple Pay and even has touchscreen ordering system in my outlets.

    Of all the restaurants in the world, McDonald's moves very quickly to adapt to changes in markets despite their size and age.
    calimike1StrangeDaysMetriacanthosaurus
  • Reply 6 of 22
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Oh Lord..... my "McDonalds Pay" joke may come to fruition.
    Soli said:
    bdkennedy said:
    Welcome to 2010. McDonald's how grown so monolithic it can barely move.
    How so? I know of very few restaurants that have iOS ordering. Plus, McDonald's was quick to adopt Apple Pay and even has touchscreen ordering system in my outlets.

    Of all the restaurants in the world, McDonald's moves very quickly to adapt to changes in markets despite their size and age.
    Exactly! And what restaurant apps allowed you to order food in 2010?!!
    edited March 2017
  • Reply 7 of 22
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,926member
    Something is fishy about this. Location tracking is 100% not necessary in this context. Taco Bell has already mastered this with no location tracking. It is already Fast Food. It takes literally 2 minutes to prepare ones meal. No one needs a "head start" based on location tracking.

    At Taco Bell, you place your order with the App, and when you arrive at the Drive Thru, you're just bypassing the "talking-to-the-moron-thru-the-speaker" except to let them know you've arrived. They immediately begin making your meal and its ready as soon as you pull up to the next window. No more advance notice than that is needed.
    Not true. I do use the Taco Bell app and I need tell it "I'm there" about 5 minutes out or the wait is almost as if I had placed the order when I got there. Food line is where the wait usually is, not the cashier.
    bdkennedy said:
    Welcome to 2010. McDonald's how grown so monolithic it can barely move.
    So wrong it's not even funny.
    SoliStrangeDays
  • Reply 8 of 22
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,279member
    cali said:
    Exactly! And what restaurant apps allowed you to order food in 2010?!!
    I don't think Starbucks had mobile ordering and pay until 2015.

    Some restaurants that service business crowds moved from calling ahead which moved into faxing in your orders, and eventually into online orders. Many allowed you to pay online, as well. I know Chipotle had this. Others will let you order online but need to you pay in person.
  • Reply 9 of 22
    jabohnjabohn Posts: 539member
    I've been able to order pizza from my iPhone for years, but it just tells you the approximate time it will be ready.
  • Reply 10 of 22
    berndogberndog Posts: 90member
    The "collection of startups" link is not working on 6S+? Missed another bunny trail
  • Reply 11 of 22
    supadav03supadav03 Posts: 461member
    Good idea. The convenience is nice, especially during the lunch hour rush. Used a similar service at Chikfila and it worked great. Just hope they don't follow Chick-fil-A lead and make you use Apple Pay to add funds to a mobile wallet. Always end up with left over money since it can only be added in certain denominations. Would be nice to just past the cost of the meal. 
  • Reply 12 of 22
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,417member
    Once the $15/hr. minimum wage kicks in, expect many of the functions behind the counter and in the kitchen at McDonald's and other fast food chains to become automated (beyond the order taking process). Great job!
    edited March 2017
  • Reply 13 of 22
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 980member
    Does anyone with a brain eat that stuff? 
  • Reply 14 of 22
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,279member
    Once the $15/hr. minimum wage kicks in, expect many of the functions behind the counter and in the kitchen at McDonald's and other fast food chains to become automated (beyond the order taking process). Great job!
    And not allowing a living wage would mean McDonald's wouldn't look to automate towards the future? You do know that McDonald's has been focusing on better automation for more efficiency since before its inception as a corporation, right?
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 14 of 22
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 980member
    jabohn said:
    I've been able to order pizza from my iPhone for years, but it just tells you the approximate time it will be ready.
    I call my pizza place and speak to a human, they tell me when the pizza will be ready too. 
  • Reply 16 of 22
    emoelleremoeller Posts: 453member
    Pay will be utilized, as it is with their kiosks now.  McDonald's is getting progressive in their utilization of technology (I agree that automation is coming very soon to fast food industry to counteract higher wages), and their food quality and menu options have improved.  It had been at least a decade since I had eaten at a MickyD but I am traveling now in the US and have stopped in a few times recently and found the food to be quite good.  Their share price is reflecting this, having risen since last fall.
  • Reply 17 of 22
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,288member
    Something is fishy about this. Location tracking is 100% not necessary in this context. Taco Bell has already mastered this with no location tracking. It is already Fast Food. It takes literally 2 minutes to prepare ones meal. No one needs a "head start" based on location tracking.

    At Taco Bell, you place your order with the App, and when you arrive at the Drive Thru, you're just bypassing the "talking-to-the-moron-thru-the-speaker" except to let them know you've arrived. They immediately begin making your meal and its ready as soon as you pull up to the next window. No more advance notice than that is needed.
    I agree. Have used app for Pizza Hut and find it's more trouble than it's worth. McDs in my area is already fast, and placing an advanced order and then waiting in the same line as everyone else makes no sense. Parking and going in to pick up at the counter defeats the superior speed/convenience of drive-thru. The only scenario that makes any sense in theory would be curb pick-up. But I'll bet you sit there and wait most of the time too. Even under ideal conditions this mess won't save more than a minute or two on average. If that little is critical to you, you're living too fast. Slow down and smell the fries. 
  • Reply 18 of 22
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,417member
    emoeller said:
    Pay will be utilized, as it is with their kiosks now.  McDonald's is getting progressive in their utilization of technology (I agree that automation is coming very soon to fast food industry to counteract higher wages), and their food quality and menu options have improved.  It had been at least a decade since I had eaten at a MickyD but I am traveling now in the US and have stopped in a few times recently and found the food to be quite good.  Their share price is reflecting this, having risen since last fall.
    Have you seen this?

    https://www.wired.com/2017/01/cafe-x-robot-barista/

    This is the next step to replacing most food and drink prep positions. I suspect the number of people needed to run the average McDonald's will be cut in half or more.

    Actually, I will speculate and say that at some point there will be McDonald's kiosks where you'll be able to preorder on your phone or at a touchscreen and simply pick up your entire meal, untouched by human hands, and walk away. Further off in the future there may be self-driving "roach coaches" that are entirely automated, making their rounds (sans human beings). Hey, if someone can figure out how to make a buck with ice cream trucks, why couldn't food retailers figure out how to deliver the food based on the same principles, but have the entire process automated?
    edited March 2017
  • Reply 19 of 22
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,470member
    Something is fishy about this. 
    Mulder is on the case. And his post goes downhill from there.

    There are two McDonald's near me and they are both jammed up at the end of day commute hours and on weekends. During those times they add someone outside taking orders in advance of the speaker/mic.

    Until this point or that of the speaker/mic, they're only making an educated guess based on experience as to what sandwiches to run. Knowing exactly what to expect from an in-app order further refines their production.

    So far, McDonald's is the only chain I know of that provides for Apple Pay to be used in the drive-thru.

    Another chain, El Pollo Loco, was taking AP but seems to have stopped (or it may be just one store) but you can only use it at the counter.

    What about Chick-Fil-A? I've only been to the counter since the drive-thru is always far too long.
    SoliStrangeDays
  • Reply 20 of 22
    spice-boy said:
    Does anyone with a brain eat that stuff? 


    The franchise owners of McDonald's in parts of India is introducing soups and salads to woo health-conscious people.

    http://www.livemint.com/Consumer/dQyihCXI0sbwjPZ8I8ophJ/McDonalds-woos-healthconscious-customers-with-new-stores-a.html


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