Mobile ordering coming to McDonald’s Canada: report

Fast-food chain is trying to regain relevancy with millennials in the face of flat sales.

mcdonalds, automation effects, mobile ordering

McDonald’s Mobile Ordering:

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McDonald’s is making up for lost time with its plans to roll out mobile ordering this year.

The chain started testing its system, which will allow customers to order and pay for food in advance on their phones, this week in 29 California restaurants. The company plans to expand to an additional 51 restaurants in Washington next week, according to Reuters.

Full rollout to nearly all 14,000 U.S. restaurants is going to happen by the end of this year, executive vice-president of digital and technology operations Jim Sappington told Reuters.

Canadians aren’t going to get left out, with McDonald’s also targeting 6,000 restaurants in Canada the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia and China by the end of this year, according to Sappington. Canada has about 1,400 locations in Canada.

A spokesperson for McDonald’s Canada didn’t provide any additional information on the upcoming rollout.

McDonald’s is looking to implement the system carefully, Reuters says, given the hiccups that fellow chain Starbucks has experienced.

Starbucks’ mobile ordering has been a mixed bag. While it initially paid big dividends for the company in terms of additional revenue and customer visits, it also backfired by simply relocating queues from the cashiers to the pick-up area.

McDonald’s plans to reorient its kitchens into more efficient configurations in an effort to avoid similar pitfalls.

Unlike Starbucks, its app will only actually place an order with the kitchen once the customer has arrived on the premises. Customers will also be able to choose table service, counter or drive-thru pickup or curb-side delivery.

At least one investor has doubts about that plan.

“If they don’t start your order until you pull in the lot, are you really gaining that much time?” Janna Sampson, whose company holds 65,000 McDonald’s shares, told Reuters.

McDonald’s embrace of mobile technology is seen as part of an effort to regain relevancy with younger customers.

Just one in five millennials have even tried a Big Mac, according to a report last year by the Wall Street Journal, a big reason for why the chain’s U.S. sales have been minor or flat for the past few years.

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