McDonald’s has started to test its mobile order-ahead and mobile pay app in select markets ahead of its broader launch later this year.
According to TechCrunch, mobile order-ahead is now available in 29 restaurants in Monterey and Salinas, Calif., through the company’s mobile application. The test will then expand to 51 more restaurants in Spokane, Wa., later on this month.
The company wants to work out any kinks and get valuable customer feedback before it launches nationally and in select international locations in quarter four of 2017. By the end of this year, McDonald’s plans to have the app live in its 14,000 U.S. restaurants, as well as 6,000 other locations in Canada, the U.K., France, Germany, Australia and China.
A recent survey found that customers visit fast-food restaurants 6 percent more and spending increases around 20 percent when technology is used to place an order. McDonald’s has been behind on that technology, with competitors like Starbucks, Chipotle, Dunkin Donuts, Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A and more already offering mobile ordering through their apps.
While the McDonald’s mobile app has allowed users to browse the menu, check out weekly deals and find nearby locations, it will now allow customers to place and pay for orders within the app. McDonald’s also takes the technology a step further than its competitors, using geo-fencing technology to track the customer’s location and preparing their food only when they’re near the store. Customers can choose to pick up their order by walking in to the counter or going through the drive-through or via newly added curbside delivery
“We look forward to learning from our customers in these markets as they order ahead, pay within the app and choose one of the various ways to pick up and enjoy their favorite McDonald’s foods,” said Julia Vander Ploeg, McDonald’s vice president of U.S. Digital. “From the app to our restaurant operations, we’ve taken a fully integrated approach to ensure a seamless customer experience that we think our customers will love.”