McDonald’s rethinks ordering
23 May, 2012
Mobile and self-service kiosk ordering could be the shape of things to come for McDonald’s as it aims to further speed service, the chain has revealed in an analysts’ visit to its Innovation Centre in Chicago.
McDonald’s has already experimented with different styles of ordering, but its latest plans suggest a much more ambitious shake-up of its renowned fast service. As well as self-ordering kiosks, they also include separate order and collection points to ease queues.
Other ideas previewed by McDonald’s include digital menu boards that will give it much greater flexibility on promotions, and back-of-house upgrades that will improve the efficiency of food preparation and expand its menu while reducing costs. It is also planning to make more use of real-time ordering data.
McDonald’s told analysts that the innovations would help it to push sales despite volatile markets around the world. It will also press on with a restaurant remodeling programme, to which it contributes 40% of costs with franchise operators adding the rest.
Analysts seem to agree that McDonald’s moves are on the right track. Bryan Elliott of Raymond James & Associates said in a note: “We believe the company’s remodeling program has been a key driver of the brand’s global market share gains in the past decade. We expect global comps to continue to benefit—a 5 to 6% lift is typical post-remodel—as additional markets reach a critical mass to impact customer perceptions.”
Sara Senatore of Bernstein Research added: “The Innovation Centre evidenced McDonald’s relentless pursuit of operational excellence, suggesting to us that hamburger competitors will find it difficult-to-impossible to catch up and that McDonald’s will defend successfully its market leadership.” But she sounded a note of caution about flat economies. “In the near term, however, Europe remains a challenge.”
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