To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Big Mac, McDonald’s is rolling out a MacCoin. The coin will be available to customers who purchase a Big Mac at 14,000 restaurants in the U.S., USA TODAY reported.
With the MacCoin, customers can redeem the burger currency for another Big Mac. In terms of the launch date, Thursday (Aug. 2) was chosen to roll out the coins, as it is 100th birthday of the McDonald’s franchisee, Jim Delligatti, who created the Big Mac.
McDonald’s Big Mac, however, is no stranger to currency. The popular hamburger has played a role in measuring purchasing power. Starting in the 1980s, The Economist has been keeping track of the purchasing power of currencies from around the world using a Big Mac Index. "They use it to this day," McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook told USA Today. "Why not have some fun with it? Create our own currency."
The news comes more than a year after the McDonald’s in Boston was to activate what it called a “customized digital Big Mac ATM.” During the lunch hours, the Big Mac ATM was to dispense two new sizes of burger — the Mac Jr. and the Grand Mac — free of charge. In lieu of payment, hungry customers will “pay” with their Twitter handles and get a free lunch. The machine was also to generate a tweet on the user’s account while they eat.
Vince Spadea, a McDonald’s franchisee, was quoted by The Boston Globe as saying, “It’s really just a fun way to be modern and progressive. I think we’ll have lines out the door.”
The ATM also sends literal messages that McDonald’s is hip with the times, ready to get with in-store tech and online options — which, by now, restaurant owners (and retailers at large) know is exactly what consumers want. Some 77 percent of North American customers ages 18 to 34 want or expect mobile ordering at fast food restaurants, for example.