McDonald’s Chief Digital Officer Atif Rafiq was talking with a reporter last week about how “seamless” and easy McDonald’s will incorporate ApplePay, which makes sense given how the chain has been accepting contactless payments for years. (We didn’t say that they had accepted a lot of them.) But Ratiq chose to take it to the next level and argued that Apple Pay would be accepted at the chain drive-thru windows.
In a delightful story in Recode, the author pushed Rafiq for specifics after the executive “talked in generalities a bit.” He eventually pushed the exec to send a photograph of it might look like. That’s the image illustrating this story.
“Customers who want to use their new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus to pay will have to tell the drive-through cashier that they are paying with their phone. The cashier will then extend a portable payment terminal out toward the driver’s-side window,” the story said. “The driver then can place their finger on the phone’s fingerprint ID sensor and tap or wave their phone in front of the payment device just outside their window. Will people prefer paying that way to handing over cash or credit? That may depend on how prepared the window attendants are and whether they can keep the ‘fast’ in “fast food."
A few thoughts. First, those terminals are not especially light, as evidenced by the employee in the photo having to hold it with both arms. Secondly, while holding it outside the window, it is fully exposed to the elements. What happens if it’s pouring rain or snowing heavily? Beyond being potentially damaged, that unit is going to get progressively heavier in that snowstorm. For that matter, customers will have to hold their iPhones out in the same weather elements and it’s not clear that that will be good for the phone.
The story said that McDonald’s has further plans for ApplePay. “Accepting Apple Pay is just one step in series of digital enhancements coming to McDonald’s locations, according to Rafiq. The company will place an Apple Pay button on a forthcoming app, Rafiq said, though he declined to reveal specifics of what the app will do. Since payments will be involved, it could be an order-ahead app, like the one the company is currently testing at select locations in Alabama and Georgia.”