McDonald’s has been making some serious waves on the technology front over the last few years. The brand’s push toward innovative digital technology implementations, tablet kiosks and self-service ordering stations inside their restaurants have been a widespread success in the UK and throughout Europe.
While these projects have proved to be successful for the brand, you can't find too many tech-focused McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S.. However, it looks like that will change for the quick service restaurant (QSR) giant as technology becomes a bigger focus for the company to combat dipping sales performances. Over the last few years, McDonald’s has been consistently rolling out next-generation restaurants across Europe and in parts of Canada, which are driving real business results for the company.
Experience of the Future
McDonald’s ‘Experience of the Future” programs features Samsung Galaxy tablets and Bouncepad tablet kiosks across restaurant locations here in Europe, as well as Canada and Australia, with plans to implement in the U.S.. This concept might sounds familiar to the company’s “Spirit of Family” program Bouncepad was involved in a few years ago as well.
One of the big differences today is McDonald’s partnership with enterprise mobility management company, SOTI. They’re helping rollout these solutions and supply software for tablets to let customers to play games, access their social media accounts or browse the web.
Once installed, the self-service and infotainment stations let customers interact and engage with customer-friendly technologies throughout the duration of their meal. While these tablet kiosks improve the customer experience and help increase dwell time, McDonald’s is able to create more sales opportunities – a win-win for everyone.
Infotainment is described as the delivery of content through a variety of channels that is intended to educate and entertain consumers. For a deeper explanation of infotainment and how it works, watch the video below from Bouncepad CEO Tobi Schneidler.
Beyond just infotainment, a recent research report confirms why kiosks should be a serious consideration for McDonald’s franchisee owners, and other QSRs as well. In a recent study from Tillster, the company surveyed 1,000 people who ate at a QSR in the last three months. One of the big reveals was how much customers value time and convenience. "Wait time has really become a very impactful part of how they choose their experience. They are unwilling to wait a certain amount of time," said Hope Neiman, CMO of Tillster said.
The study reported only 36 percent of customers would wait in line if there were more than five people ahead of them. However, all is not lost. Nearly 80 percent of consumers said they would order from a kiosk if there were more than five people waiting in line.
Further, the study found there are significant links between age and interest with self-service kiosks:
18-24 year olds are more than 70 percent likely to visit a restaurant if it had a kiosk option;
25-34 year olds are 65 percent more likely to visit;
45-54 year olds are 60 percent more likely; and
55+ year olds are 40 percent more likely.
The Future of McDonald’s
So what can we expect to see from McDonald’s and other QSRs moving forward? In short, I suspect we’ll continue to see digital technology solutions play a bigger role in restaurants moving forward. As we’ve seen in retail and other sectors, customer-centric digital solutions work because the focus is on the user-experience, which can directly translate to new business and customer retention. These digital solutions being used are – and have proven to be – a great fit for McDonald’s and other QSRs because of their ability to increase convenience and improve the user-experience. On the flip side, businesses are creating more sales opportunities as a direct result of successful use cases.