McDonald’s puts focus on food delivery and ‘ordering ahead’ in tech drive
McDonald’s is trialling a home delivery service in the US and prioritising mobile ordering as it looks to meet evolving consumer demands.
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%.
The fact that McDonald’s did a trial run of how the delivery service would work for them in Florida is interesting. I would like to know why they chose Orlando, Tampa and Miami. It would make sense to try and focus test on where sales are high, and therefore that might be the reason why they chose these cities. Also, they might have not wanted huge publicity surrounding the trial and chose places with less active social media. I think that if they wanted to make it known that they are rolling out with a delivery service, they might incorporate advertising around college campuses and even create PR like the recent Wendy’s tweets on Twitter. However, it is understandable that McDonald’s wants to keep something like this quiet seeing as how they are still in a trial phase and testing all these new ideas with payment and location of delivery. I have read a lot about the expansion of the food delivery market and it seems that McDonald’s is the first fast food burger chain that is testing the waters. McDonalds’ self-serving kiosks are the only thing I have heard about and I was not even aware that they had an app, although I shouldn’t be too surprised since there is an app for everything. It’ll be fun to see how this service will be advertised once it passes the trial phase.
They do it in India and it works amazingly. I know because I have experienced it. I think they need to trial it in the UK too. Burger King are trialling it in the UK in certain areas and its doing well. I think this great and makes sense! When I went to Amsterdam, in the airport in departures they have the MacDs self service Kiosk and even that is so easy. I think they should start doing these globally. Looking forward to it in UK.
What a fascinating read. With the technological revolution in full swing, more traditional companies such as McDonald’s must work hard to innovate their product in order to avoid falling victim to new competition. Companies such as Favor have already taken a dive into the new fad of ordering food to be delivered from mobile devices. Pizza is not the only thing being delivered now, with the touch of a button, a customer can order a burger, ice cream, or even groceries. It is great to hear that the CEO of McDonald’s. Steve Easterbrook, recognizes that his company has the opportunity to jump onboard of food delivery while it continues to gain momentum. Even more so, what a brilliant idea to partner with a UberEATS which already has the software development and consumer base needed to successfully compete in this new field. It would have been much more difficult, not to mention much more expensive, to build a brand-new application and hire specific employees to work their delivery system. McDonald’s also has some very intriguing technology-based ideas coming soon include “curb-side check in” and self-ordering kiosks. I appreciate that McDonald’s is attempting to take the time to test and develop this technology rather than trying to rush into it. As stated above, sometimes “it’s better to be right than first to market”. I am looking forward to trying this technology out as soon as it becomes available in the Phoenix-area.