McDonald’s is shifting its focus towards technology-led initiatives in a bid to prioritise the consumer experience and meet their demands for increased convenience and simplicity.
Speaking on an investor call today (23 January), CEO Steve Easterbrook said the fast food brand has been trialling food delivery in the US. Business Insider reported in December last year the brand was partnering with UberEATS to deliver to consumers living in Orlando, Tampa and Miami.
“We did a very small test with home delivery in Florida. It’s about us meeting consumer demand; food at home is something we could play a part in,” he says.
The food delivery market has been rapidly expanding, with players like Deliveroo and UberEATS looking to claim a major stake in the market. Between 2010 and 2015, the UK market for takeaway and delivery food expanded 4.7% to £6.7bn, according to Euromonitor figures.
We believe tech can do a lot of heavy lifting, so the overall experience will be better.
Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s
Easterbrook added that McDonald’s is planning to invest further in technology, adding new features and functionality to its mobile app. The brand launched its mobile app in the US in 2015, and Easterbrook said it has now been downloaded 18 million times, with 11 million registered users.
“We are working on different elements, like order-and-pay either through the app or the internet. We are also testing kerb-side check in, where people can pull into a specific bay, scan their order and we will bring it out to them. But we also have in-store technology like self-ordering kiosks,” he explains.
He also sees “huge potential” when it comes to customer relationship management and loyalty schemes – but admits that its competitors are further ahead.
“This is one where it’s better to be right than first to market. We are looking to understand what works best for customers. We are now focusing on the experiential side – curb side check in, order and pay, make it easier and more convenient and then build reward systems over time. We believe tech can do a lot of heavy lifting, so the overall experience will be better,” he explains.
The promised investment comes as McDonald’s reveals its global comparable sales increased 3.8% year on year for the year to 31 December. However sales were down in its key US market by 1.3% in the fourth quarter, although international sales in its ‘lead’ segment, which includes the UK, rose by 2.8%.