McDonald’s is considered by many to be the founding father of fast food. Their introduction of assembly lines, forward thinking nature on products, and delicious taste have kept them at the top spot of the industry for decades. Now as the restaurant moves into the 2020’s and beyond, here are some of the 10 Surprising Ways McDonald’s is Changing the Future of Fast Food Forever.
10. Touch Screens and To-Go Restaurants
One of the best things about McDonald’s that makes it such a forward thinking company is their access to large resources that can enable them to set industry standards for the rest of the world. In times of crisis and change, as has been witnessed with the pandemic, McDonald’s has proven once again that they can handle nearly any change in the market. Moving forward, with the opening of one of the first To-Go only McDonald’s restaurants, they are preparing for the socially distanced lifestyle that many have come accustomed to and is necessary for the next while in order to save lives. With the opening of this new restaurant, McDonald’s will set a precedent for other restaurants to offer much faster and less interactive service plans. Many have used the order screens available at many McDonald’s locations. The To-Go restaurant focuses solely on order screense along with a pick up window and offers no tables for dine in service. Almost zero need to ever meet who’s making the burger. When times are good there is no doubt McDonald’s will be one of the first to reestablish themselves as a brand leader once again. But in terms of changing the future, McDonald’s is moving forward with serious intentions regarding public safety and sanitation. McDonald’s is helping push forward towards new ideals of fast food in this fast changing world. In good times or in bad times, the Golden Arches stand strong.
9. Free Fries! The Ultimate Giveaway and the Ultimate Advertisement
Free samples and giveaways have been a tactic of skilled advertisers for decades. While most places offer up a simple taste test of a certain product in the hopes that it will keep you coming back for more, McDonald’s keeps bringing customers back with freebies time after time. The free product that they continue to offer up free of charge is none other than their classic french fries, the most addictive product on the menu! Not only has the brand been offering “Free Fries Friday” for some time through their mobile apps coupons, it is not the only way that one can score some of the best free fries on the planet. Special promotions often run for holidays and other fun events like “National Free Fry Day”. During the 2018 Toronto Raptors Season, Free fries were offered to Canadians every time the raptors scored 12 or more 3-pointers in a game. The same promo was offered in 2019 with a slight catch – a product worth at least a dollar must be purchased in order to receive the fries. This is the true goal of the free fries promo. Although the fries are a great way to keep customers happy, in terms of promotional value, giving away fried potatoes is marginal in cost when compared to some of the multi-million dollar advertising campaigns that aim to bring you into the store. The benefits of these ad campaigns are that you must enter the establishment in order to experience the benefits – and once your there, chances are you order an extra item or two at full price. A genius way to gain happy customers that keep coming back for more free fries, and everything else on the menu!
8. Scaled Backed Menus for a Pandemic World
At the beginning of the pandemic, as many stores were forced to close their doors in order to promote public health and safety, McDonald’s was not immune. Thousands of restaurants across the globe were forced to either shut down or modify their service style to protect both the phenomenal workers who pressed through the pandemic and the millions of customers practicing new fast food dining habits. The company took steps to aid in the speed of drive thru and take out distribution, as well as removing some of the more risky products from the menu in terms of germ spread. Some of the more deluxe burgers, salads, ice cream cones, bagels and other bakery items were among a list of items that were removed from the menu during the beginning half of 2020. As social distancing measures slowly begin to lift around the world, McDonald’s has chosen to leave some of the above items off the menu in order to continue promoting the speedy service that is required when customers are primarily taking their food to go – either through pick up, drive thru or delivery services! Bagels, some salads and many bakery items may be left off the menu for the foreseeable future. Do not fear! New and exciting options like Minute Maid Slushies and L’il Donuts are always being added to the menu. Although the world has begun to slow down in many ways, McDonald’s is proving that nobody can stop this fast food giant!
7. Google, Alexa & McDonald’s
Home assistance technology has incorporated some of the most advanced uses of artificial intelligence currently on the market today. McDonald’s has now started to strategically use systems such as Google Home and Alexa, which are already inside millions of homes across the world. Not only is the brand using technology to advertise to millions of customers, but they are also using it as an incredible source for finding potential future employees. McDonald’s relationship with home assistance began with the ability to ask what the specials at McDonald’s are. By connecting the location services on the home assistance product, the device is then able to tell customers the deals available at their individual local McDonald’s immediately, and a discussion can then be had regarding ordering. Absolutely brilliant! Even more incredible than the use of advertising strategies has been the “Apply Thru” program. All a user needs to say is “Talk to McDonald’s” or “Tell McDonald’s Apply Thru I want a job” and their home assistance program will begin to ask them basic interview questions! Online applications have been taking over the job industry for the last decade, however this technology is far more advanced. It will be fascinating to see how this partnership continues to grow!
6. McCafé Sustainable Coffee Journey
The McDonald’s sustainable coffee journey has been an ongoing project for the company since 2014. As climate change continues, McDonald’s has made a vow to sustainably source it’s coffee in order to help protect the workers and the environment together. Although companies often make promises and promise lofty goals that are swept under the rug, it is very exciting that McDonald’s has worked very hard to achieve this goal and originally set 2020 as an achievement date. Although the company is not quite at 100% of their goal, according to the most recent update from the company, they are at a rate of 54% globally and 84% in the United States in achieving their target. Although this is far from perfection, it is goals like this that promote other companies to strive for better treatment for people and the planet. The company also has released goals to ensure that the dairy products used in the McCafé beverages are also sustainably sourced. The coffee bean is small but it holds a great deal of power. It is able to wake people every day and give them the energy to get through the day. It is only fair that the same energy is put back into taking care of the coffee itself!
5. Ding Dong! McDonald’s is at the door!
One of the new avenues which McDonald’s has placed a great deal of investment in is the new expansion of McDelivery services. McDonald’s has partnered with both Uber Eats and Door Dash in order to bring the delicious taste of Mickey D’s fast food to the comfort of one’s home. Finally it seems that early morning writers can have their breakfast sandwich and coffee delivered and the late night partiers can slam down a Big Mac with fries without ever having to walk out the front door. Many may be surprised by the fact that McDonald’s has only recently begun to offer delivery service as they have been an industry standard setter for decades. Until recently, before the development of delivery apps, families were often stuck deciding between the classic options of pizza or Chinese food delivery. By expanding delivery options, McDonald’s has helped to expand the gig economy and increase its potential sales at the same time. Thankfully, as McDonald’s continues to expand its delivery options globally, it seems as though McDelivery may become the best way to still eat at the Golden Arches.
4. Announcing Goals for a Sustainable Future
One of the aspects of McDonald’s that makes it such a forward looking fast food restaurant is their recent commitment to asserting themselves as a more energy efficient company in terms of sustainability. It is amazing when large companies like this begin to take these steps as it encourages competitors to offer the same type of environmental solutions. One of the major ways in which McDonald’s is working to reduce its environmental impact is a plan to guarantee recycling in all locations within the next five years, and also to ensure that all packaging for menu items stems from renewable or recyclable resources. This is a major step when one considers the amount of packaging that can be involved in just one meal. This will be especially important as brands refocus greatly on clean, individual packaging to meet the demands of the future. In addition to focusing on revitalizing the packaging, the company has also set a goal to reduce greenhouse emissions 36% by 2030. Although this is still ten years away, these steps are major game changers in terms of changing how the future of fast food is bound to look. More and more restaurants will continue to discuss how their establishments are able to interact in a friendly way in an environment that they are entirely dependent on. New generations create new demands that restaurants must meet! McDonald’s is starting to make serious changes to accomplish that goal.
3. Technology & McDonald’s: A Perfect Match
Technology introduced by McDonald’s has always been some of the most progressive and industry changing of any restaurant across the world, ever since that very first fast-food service assembly line they created. Some of the most impressive uses of artificial intelligence and data collection technologies are being applied by McDonald’s restaurants in order to provide customers and employees with a smooth, fast, enjoyable experience that will leave everyone happy. One of McDonald’s most recent technological advancements is the use of specialty menu boards that use AI to automatically change the advertised products depending on a number of variables. Factors like the heat, time of day, season, overstocked items and specialty products are all taken into account and displayed on the menu board in order to maximize efficiency – and a customers purchase. McDonald’s has also placed touch-screen menu boards into their restaurants and began offering delivery options. At the end of the order process, but before the transaction is complete, McDonald’s is able to use these technologies to advertise additional items that customers may want to “add-on” to the meal. This is the new classic way to expand on the question “Would you like fries with that?” This can help increase sales and customer satisfaction if customers potentially miss a favorite snack. Finally, from the use of these apps, the collection of information regarding people’s spending habits and other factors are easily collected in order for McDonald’s to best understand their market and provide the optimal customer experience.
2. Golden is the New Black
One of the most exciting ways in which McDonald’s is changing the future of fast food is by launching their own brand site. The apparel line launched in 2019 just in time for the holiday season. While in the past, McDonald’s fans have had to show their love by wearing either knock-off brand clothing or McDonald’s partnership items, now they can buy directly from Ronald himself. In order to expand the brand, and finally fill the decades long demands of customers, the brand known as Golden Arches Unlimited was born. The site features a variety of different accessories and clothing pieces that are absolutely stunning to the eye. The mix of fashionable trends with classic McDonald’s characters, menu items and iconic logos are full of fantasy and belong in any true McDonald’s fan’s collection. Truth be told, many with an eye for fashion may feel that there are a few iconic pieces in this collection that they absolutely must have. In terms of clothes, the various pairs of socks, bathing suits and shirts available will bring a colorful and fun flavor to any wardrobe. In addition, some of the accessories are absolutely to die for. There are adorable bags and totes available, and the journals are the perfect gift for any writer who loves a good McDonald’s meal. Who would have thought that McDonald’s would take their game from the drive-thru to the runway!
1. Net-Zero Restaurant at the Most Magical Place on Earth
One of the most fascinating advancements of McDonald’s technology is currently on display at Walt Disney World in Florida. At Disney, McDonald’s has recently opened its first carbon net-zero restaurant! What this means is that the carbon produced by the restaurant is offset by the environmental protections it puts in place. Basically the restaurant is able to essentially eliminate all the pollution meaning that there is no negative impact on the environment. In order to complete this task, McDonald’s has invested in some of the most impressive pieces of modern technology to date. To begin with, the restaurant is powered using solar panels. In addition, a living green wall helps to consume great amounts of pollution that may be expelled by the restaurant and the cars in the drive thru. The restaurant also has automatic windows that use temperature sensing technology to close or open according to the current weather. As of right now the restaurant is only open for takeout and delivery, but it is certainly one of the most beautiful McDonald’s restaurants created to date. This restaurant isn’t just another on the list of thousands. It is the restaurant of the future.