Are customized burgers and mobile apps the future of McDonald’s?
For some McDonald’s customers in Australia, the menu just got both bigger and more technologically sophisticated. A video on YouTube shows a customer ordering a customized McDonald’s burger, using an in-restaurant touch-screen to select from a long list of ingredients you would sooner expect to see at a gastropub-style burger bar, then selecting on-screen the seat to which the finished burger will be delivered.
While the tech shown in the YouTube video is positioned in-restaurant, it is not difficult to imagine touch-screen ordering being included as part of a smartphone app. Near the end of 2013, McDonald’s began rolling out its McD App in a few markets in the U.S., into which the ordering tech could presumably be integrated. Companies such as Domino’s have found success with such a strategy. Domino’s recently released 3D Custom Pizza Builder iPad app allows customers placing orders to create a customized pizza through a touch-screen interface.
McDonald’s may indeed be trying to see how a gastropub format suits the Golden Arches as the company reevaluates its offerings in the face of the growing popularity of fast casual restaurants.
Long seen as a quick, cheap and unhealthy place to eat, McDonald’s is no longer particularly cheap. Bloomberg News reports that the chain’s recent price increases have been driving away budget diners.
Joel Cohen of Cohen Restaurant Marketing Group told Bloomberg, "You’re up at price where you could just about be dining at a casual-dining restaurant."
According to a Forbes.com article, McDonald’s customer traffic has diminished 1.3 percent in each of the past two years, while fast casual restaurant visits have risen by five percent and 2.3 percent in those years. Attempts by McDonald’s to win back customers by offering healthier options, such as wraps, did not work out as well as the company had projected.
- McDonald’s new customizable gourmet burgers look absolutely delicious – Sploid
- McDonald’s launches McD app for New England smartphone customers – The Boston Globe (tiered sub.)
- How The Fast Casual Segment Is Gaining Market Share In The Restaurant Industry – Forbes
- Domino’s Launches Its Pizza Ordering App For iPad With 3D Custom Pizza Builder – TechCrunch
- McDonald’s Gets More Expensive, Turning Off Some Diners – Bloomberg
Will a shift to customized burgers and app-based ordering make McDonald’s more competitive with fast casual chains in the U.S.? Should the company even be trying to be more competitive with fast casual restaurant operators?