McD’s first loyalty program will come with free fries
Watch out Starbucks! McDonald’s is ready to launch its first full-fledged loyalty program later this year or early in 2017.
“We’re working on a customer-designed loyalty program that we think will be as good as there is out there in the marketplace,” Mike Andres, McDonald’s USA’s president, said last week at the UBS Global Consumer Conference.
The fast food chain currently has a “fundamental basics, kind of punch card approach,” according to Mr. Andres. Launched nationally last October, the McCafe app basically features a restaurant locater and nutritional information. The app already has 7.5 million downloads.
As a loyalty incentive with the initial McCafe app, members — who provide their location and email address — earn a free beverage after five drink purchases, such as coffees and shakes. The upgraded loyalty program, according to Mr. Andres, will be “more robust,” linking rewards to other purchases and likely visits per month. Points will likely have a time limit to entice customers to use them.
Mr. Andres said the chain wants to ultimately move “to this point of mass personalization where we talk to each of our customers individually based on what their needs are. … If we see them falling off, we can entice them with their favorite products to come back. That’s the future, customer relationship management, and we think that’s going to be a significant sales layer for us.”
A strong loyalty program could be of help in competing against Starbuck’s and Dunkin Donuts.
My Starbucks Rewards has 11.1 million members, and Dunkin’ Donuts’ DD Perks program has 4.3 million. Both offer mobile ordering. Starbucks’ program stands out for its ample drink and food rewards, custom offers via e-mail, and free drink on each member’s birthday.
Nation’s Restaurant News noted that McDonald’s has been building up its digital team to better tap customer-facing technology. Margo Georgiadis, president of Americas at Google, joined its board last year.
- UBS 2016 Global Consumer Conference – McDonald’s
- McDonald’s building loyalty program – Nation’s Restaurant News
- McDonald’s Is Making a Power Move to Compete with Starbucks – Time
- McDonald’s planning a loyalty program – Chicago Sun Times
- McDonald’s Launches Loyalty Program With Mobile App – CSN News
Source: Google Play
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How receptive will consumers be to McDonald’s loyalty program? Do you think McD’s should largely mimic Starbucks’ My Rewards program?