U.S. fans of fast food giant McDonald’s have something new to look forward to. As part of the restaurant chain’s work to upgrade its restaurant and ordering technology offerings, McDonald’s recently announced plans to roll out a mobile order and payment service to all 20,000 of their U.S. locations this year, said GeekWire.
Perhaps this and other franchise-wide technological integrations will work to increase the restaurant’s declining foot traffic. McDonald’s domestic same-store sales were down 1.3 percent year over year in 2016. The number of customers that McDonald’s draws has reportedly been dropping every year for the past four, falling 2.1 percent in 2016.
All told, it adds up to a 10.4 percent drop in foot traffic since 2011. Further still, all-day breakfast numbers might actually have been obscuring a greater loss in customer numbers. Some estimates peg a 12.5–13.5 percent decrease in foot traffic for lunch and dinner crowds.
In addition to mobile ordering and delivery, McDonald’s is upping its in-store technology and planning to add self-service kiosk ordering, digital smart menu boards, custom-order options and even table service. It’s working toward rolling out these technology upgrades in all of its worldwide locations by the end of 2018.
For now, we’ll have to wait and see if the boost in technology will translate to a boost in consumer interest. There’s certainly precedent for this across the retail industry, as more and more consumers vie for in-store tech.
Despite slumping numbers on the foot traffic front, the company posted some decent fourth quarter numbers. McDonald’s reported at the end of January that it saw $6.03 billion in revenue in Q4, beating Wall Street estimates, though down 5 percent year over year. Annual revenue for McDonald’s reached $24.6 billion, down 3 percent year over year, while net income rose 3 percent to $4.69 billion.