While waiting for my food at McDonald's I usually fiddle with my smart phone. With all the noise about digital ordering and payment, during these visits, I try to imagine what would have been different about my customer experience if I'd ordered and paid with my phone. Would I have gotten in and out more quickly? The answer is usually - not really.
That's because I still have to wait three or four minutes for the food. A faster ordering and payment system would make no difference whatsoever. The credit card processing at McDonald's is so amazingly fast I don't see how one could improve over "instantaneous". Since a smart phone purchase is a debit or credit transaction I'll assume it would go through the same network, increasing the % of sales going out on "plastic", but not be any faster. If it were faster it would have to be measured in milliseconds.
Having said that, McDonald's and every other restaurant must eventually offer this opportunity. If nothing else but for the fun factor of doing things on-line or on a device. Ordering our pizza on Papa John's web site may not necessarily be any more efficient than picking up the phone - it's just more fun.
But, since so many of the decision makers at McDonald's Corporation have never run a restaurant I foresee the following exchange:
* Corporate guys announce new products, more LTOs, customization, and kitchen complexities.
* McDonald's Operators express concerns about the High Density Menu.
* Corporate guys respond, "Smart phone ordering and payments will fix those problems".
* Corporate guys then mumble something about "Millennials" and give out information on
ordering the next equipment package.
McDonald's appears to be doing a good job of moving the system into the digital arena but it would be a mistake for Operators to rush into all things digital thinking it will solve their restaurant capacity problems in the back of the house.
There used to be an app for that - it was part of the original Plan to Win - called "Simplification".