Food: What’s been ‘app’ening at McDonald’s?

I think that anyone who knows is me is well aware of my love for McDonald’s – whether it be nipping into store for a bite to eat after a long day at work or a catch-up with friends over a frothy coffee, McDonald’s has always been the go-to place for a quick and easy meal that tastes great and lives up to its enormous reputation.

Being invited along to an influencer event at one of the McDonald’s branches in Wallasey wasn’t something I was going to turn my nose up at – with the promise of an exciting event where I would learn a plethora of information about the much-loved brand, there wasn’t a lot to lose and I was excited to see what was in store for me. Armed with Richard in tow as my accompaniment for the evening, I arrived to the restaurant to be greeted by Lena, the lovely PR lady who had arranged my meeting with the franchisee and crew members. I was introduced to Paul, the franchisee, and had the opportunity to speak to him about the brand and about his feelings about ethical sourcing and how the industry is advancing as a result of technology. He explained that there is minimal waste generated by the company, with oils used to power lorries and the lorries delivering produce also used to take away any waste, cutting the brand’s carbon footprint. It’s fair to say that technology is essential in advancing businesses and the use of technology within McDonald’s is no exception to this rule; customers use electronic self-service kiosks to order their food and as a result avoid waiting in line.

The main purpose of my visit to this particular McDonald’s restaurant was to meet with the branch’s franchisee and discuss the impact of technology on the brand as a whole. People are very habitual in nature and tend towards what they know – myself included- and this is more often than not the pressure of self-imposed time restraints. There is absolutely nothing worse than sitting in a restaurant and panic ordering your food when the waiting staff arrive unexpectedly. This mobile app works at improving and enhancing the restaurant experience for customers, allowing them to pre-order (and pre-pay for) their food before arriving at their nearest restaurant.

The app is incredibly easy to navigate – it does request that new users register so that they have the option to pay for their food before they arrive at the restaurant – and the layout of the app is sharp, crisp and simple. The front page of the app allows the option of setting your nearest restaurant – allowing for orders to be made whenever you’re in close enough proximity. Nutritional information is also readily accessible on the front page, as well as detailed categories within the ordering page. The app also highlights meals under 400 kcal and 600 kcal. The app, because it links directly with the restaurant of your choice, also advertises in store offers and new meals. The app works the same way as ordering within store would – options to add and remove ingredients from your favourite orders are readily available and it’s just as easy to request condiments as it would be to ask for them at the counter.

Order on the move, prior to entering the restaurant and pay beforehand. When you arrive at the restaurant to pick up your food, scan the barcode generated by the app at one of the mobile check in points around the restaurants – staff will not start preparing your food until you have scanned your code, meaning that there is absolutely no rush when it comes to getting to the restaurant. Order en-route to the restaurant and you won’t have to worry about the inevitable traffic that will hit or the phone call you receive seconds before walking inside. Order at your own pace, and collect your food with no issues and minimal waiting time. The perfect McDonald’s experience – just what was ordered. Having had the opportunity to explore the brand further, we were also able to meet with two of the crew members and discuss their experiences working for the brand. Emphasis was placed on the idea that working for McDonald’s is like being part of a family, where everyone clubs in and works together to succeed. The crew members explained the charitable side of the industry, and the work that McDonald’s do to help the local communities and hospitals. Clearly, working for McDonald’s has benefits beyond being a paying job and both girls seemed thrilled to be a part of such a warming and thoughtful community. The girls discussed the benefits to working for the brand and explained how hard work is the key to progressing within the ranks – what you put in is definitely what you get out and hard work is rewarded accordingly.

Having tried and tested the app both within the restaurant itself and later on in the week, as a post-shopping treat, it’s fair to say that it works like a dream. I’m excited to see where McDonald’s will go next with their innovative ideas – today’s click and collect app may well be tomorrow’s direct home delivery service. I’d be happy to recommend the service to anyone and look forward to continuing to use it in the future.