McDonald’s tests iPhone ordering ahead of global rollout

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McDonald's is getting an upgrade.
McDonald's is getting an upgrade.
Photo: Mike Mozart/Flickr

McDonald’s has begun testing mobile ordering via an iOS app at 80 restaurants across Washington and California.

The fast-food chain is hoping to identify and fix any kinks ahead of a global rollout, which is scheduled to take place before the end of this year.

Despite being one of the largest fast-food chains in the world, McDonald’s has been slow to adopt mobile ordering, with the likes of Domino’s way ahead. It is looking to catch up now and make the service widely available as quickly as possible.

As of today, it will be pilot tested at 29 locations across California. On March 20, another 51 restaurants will be added across Washington.

McDonald’s plans to bring the service to almost all of its 14,000 locations throughout the U.S., and an additional 6,000 throughout Canada, the U.K., France, Germany, Australia, and China, by the end of this year.

But the company acknowledges that there is a risk involved. Starbucks knows only too well that without the right preparation, it can lead to major hiccups. The coffee joint revealed last January that it was inundated with mobile orders that it simply could not process on time.

With its pilot test, McDonald’s is hoping to identify and address any issues that arise before mobile ordering is made available to a wider audience.

“We can’t impact the speed or the quality of our food,” Jim Sappington, McDonald’s executive vice president of operations, digital and technology, told Reuters. “Our focus is to make the overall experience clearly better.”

McDonald’s is planning to automate more orders in an effort to cut transaction times and reduce errors, which in turn would free up workers to deliver food to tables and cars waiting in designated mobile ordering bays.

The company is also working to make its mobile ordering service better than that of its rivals. By tracking a user’s location, the company can ensure orders are processed at the right restaurant, and that they’re not cooked too early and left to wait under heat lamps.

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