Since the mid part of the 20th century, McDonald’s has been leading the world in the fast-food business. With it’s cheap and speedy food, McDonald’s changed everything. However, as technology moved on McDonald’s found themselves stagnated and falling behind their competitors in the race for the number one fast-food restaurant. But not anymore. Mcdonald’s are fighting back and are ready to be world leaders once more and technology is the key. Here are the Top 10 Mind-Blowing McDonald’s Innovations.
It’s fair to say that technology has exploded in the last decade or so. With everything around us becoming more accessible, the world has seemingly got smaller and a lot faster. One of the big advancements has been in voice recognition tech, whether it’s asking Siri what the weather is going to be or controlling your entire house with a simple voice command; using our voice to control our lives is the new big innovation. McDonald’s are now catching up to this fact and have recently acquired start-up company Apprente. This tech company developed a voice-based platform that can respond to complex ordering. It can even understand different languages and regional accents. McDonald’s plans to roll this new tech out in their Drive-Thru’s which should create a faster, simpler and more accurate ordering system. As well as making the Drive-Thru experience better and error-free for the customers, it is also meant to make the staff’s life a lot better as their skills will be put to better use in order to make McDonald’s more efficient and streamlined. If successful, McDonald’s plans to incorporate the tech into its kiosks and even it’s mobile apps and online ordering systems. With voice-activated software this advanced, soon even touchscreen will be a thing of the past.
Believe it or not, but McDonald’s was not the first fast-food restaurant to have a drive-thru. Even though McDonald’s has been going since the 1940s, or the 1950s if you want to count it from the Ray Kroc era, whichever date you use McDonald’s was late to the game when it came to innovating their restaurants. Red’s Giant Burgers, In & Out Burger, Wendy’s and Jack In The Box all beat McDonald’s to the Drive-Thru finish line. The public would have to wait until the mid-1970s, almost 40 years after the first drive-thru opened until McDonald’s opened it’s very first drive-thru. Once it did, McDonald’s took the drive-thru to the next level and now they are doing it again. Apart from the voice recognition software McDonald’s acquired from tech company Apprente, The Golden Arches have also purchased Dynamic Yield and have put their software to good use in their drive-thru’s. What the tech does is essential personalizes menus and therefore the customer experience by varying digital data. Depending on trending items, the type of traffic coming in the drive-thru, the time of day and even the weather, the tech will target items for a specific need; for example, if it’s a hot, sunny day then McFlurries, Iced drinks, etc will be at the forefront of menus and boards. The tech can also put up suggestions based on what customers have ordered before; a similar tool that companies like Amazon use to show us similar items to what we have just purchased.
8. McDonald’s And Alexa
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work for McDonald’s? Have you ever stood under those shinny Golden Arches and thought long and hard about a career in the fast-paced fast-food game? Maybe that isn’t you but maybe you just need a job and McDonald’s is a choice easy right? After all, they employ thousands and thousands of people around the world, so why not me? Applying for any job can be daunting, especially a company such as McDonald’s. All those forms and applications to fill out, it can be hard to get started and know where to begin. Well, McDonald’s is here to help you and they are here to make applying for a job easier than ever before. You’ve heard of the drive-thru, now we have the apply-thru. The new services allow you to simply ask Alexa to apply for a job at McDonald’s. ‘Alexa, help me get a job at McDonald’s.’ Alexa will then respond by asking you which country you want to work and then the ‘I’m Lovin’ it’ jingle plays and you are ready to start on your McDonald’s career path. McDonald’s assures us that no one else right now does this and they are the forerunners of this new way to apply for a job. It could be a very smart way for McDonald’s to attract the younger demographic to start a career with them.
Coffee may seem like a strange choice to include on a list of mind-blowing innovations from McDonald’s, but it is actually one of the smartest things McDonald’s has ever done. During the 1990s the humble coffee shop changed into a trendy place to hangout; especially with the likes of Starbucks, and of course watching our favorite Friends in Central Perk. Coffee suddenly became cool. Because of this boom, coffee shops were popping up everywhere, each with a slightly different version of the same model and each one hoping to catch our attention. As we entered the 21st century, McDonald’s started to pay attention to the coffee craze and came up with its own line of specialist coffee. Not only did McDonald’s manage to create a great coffee for its new line of McCafe’s, but they managed to keep the price relatively low, something that Starbucks and others have failed to do. Since that moment, McDonald’s actually became more than a fast-food restaurant. Not only could you take the kids and the rest of the family for a cheap burger, but you can also go to hang out with your friends while you sip frothy lattes and cappuccinos. The likes of Starbucks might still be seen as the trendy hang out and probably always will be, but McDonald’s McCafe’s were an inspiration and a lot of people actually prefer McDonald’s for their coffee fix.
6. McD Tech
Recently McDonald’s has got back to the front of the fast-food world and is once again leading the way for the future of the industry. With so many potentially game-changing innovations, McDonald’s has actually gone one step further and started their own tech department. Known as the McD Tech Lab, McDonald’s has opened this research and development part of themselves in the infamous Silicon Valley, as they look to take on the giants of the tech world too. Since McDonald’s acquired tech companies Apprente and Dynamic Yield, they’ve been pushing forward with their quest to make great tasting food and technology come together in perfect harmony. The Apprente staff will be the driving force behind the McD tech lad going forward but McDonald’s are looking for talented staff, scientists and engineers to push this side of the company further into future projects. The benefits of McDonald’s having such a tech lab can only be good news for the customers as the quick-service food restaurant looks to get even quicker.
5. Outsourcing Ordering
We’ve mentioned already the drive-thru on our list of mind-blowing innovations McDonald’s are doing, but this time we are talking about it in a different way. While the technology that McDonald’s has now is actually making the drive-thru much more efficient and high tech, this isn’t available in all McDonald’s restaurants yet, and certainly not globally. What they have instead of tech to speed up the drive-thru is outsourcing. You’ll be forgiven that the next time you go to a drive-thru and order your food that you are speaking to a person in that restaurant. Chances are you are not. It seems like software and tech is the future for this company, so chances are you won’t be speaking to a person at all, but until the robots take over completely you’re probably just ordered your food from a different location. The idea of outsourcing is not a new one; in fact, it is always the first money-saving idea most companies go to. But instead of McDonald’s transmitting your order to remote parts of the world, it is transmitted locally, or maybe one state over. The reasoning behind McDonald’s outsourcing their drive thru’s is that it saves staff a lot of time in not taking orders and they can get more orders ready and service more customers. Outsourcing isn’t as flashy as the tech they have just bought, but until that becomes mandatory in every store, outsourcing is a clever way to speed up service and streamline the restaurant.
4. Track My Macca App
There are two big things that we all want to know these days; where does our food come from and ‘is there an app for that?’ As much as we all love fast food, we are all becoming increasingly cautious about processed food and particularly where it comes from. We want to know if the food is of good quality and if it’s sourced locally. Are the animals mistreated or are they kept well? All that information can be difficult to find with a fast-food restaurant but what if there was an app? As we depend on apps more and more in most aspects of our daily lives, McDonald’s thought it would be a great idea to combine the two. Starting out in Australia, they launched the ‘Track My Macca’ app. The idea is that you scan a McDonald’s product with your phone or tablet, the app would then access the McDonald’s supply data and tell you what the ingredients were in the product and where they were sourced. You can then click on it to get more details about the ingredients and their origin. You can even hear the farmers’ stories and how they keep the animals. The Track My Macca app was purely an Australian thing, which is a shame, but other McDonald’s apps around the world do give details about the ingredients and nutritional content of their food.
Out of all the innovations and advancement that the world of fast food has gone through over the years, home delivery is one that McDonald’s have never really ventured into. For decades now, most restaurants have offered their piping hot food to be brought straight to your door, but McDonald’s is very late to the game. However, with the birth of apps making ordering any type of food easier and faster, McDonald’s has finally gotten on board the delivery train. With apps like Uber eats, you can now order your favorite McDonald’s meal in the comfort of your own home and that will continue to grow and get better. McDonald’s is putting a lot of money and energy into delivery, as well as developing better mobile apps and online platforms for easy ordering and paying. It was reported in a McDonald’s survey that 75% of people living in the ‘top 5’ markets ( That’s the U.S, U.K, France, Germany, and Canada) all live within 3 miles of a McDonald’s restaurant. That makes it easy for McDonald’s to push their delivery system further as it seems most of the population are on McDonald’s’s doorstep.
2. The Restaurants
One of the very first innovations to happen too fast food, and the reason that made McDonald’s famous, was the fact that there was no table service. In fact, the very first McDonald’s didn’t have anywhere to sit. It was just a window that you order your food from, collect it in a bag and then leave to eat somewhere else. This kind of service had never really been seen before but it made McDonald’s the revolutionary burger joint we know and love today. Over the years McDonald’s added tables and chairs to their restaurants, as well as slides and ball pits, in order to make their restaurants more family-friendly. But there is one thing that they never changed and that’s their table service. Until now. Mcdonald’s are going through a bit of a re-branding these days and some of their restaurants are pushing away from the ‘Ronald McDonald, family burger joint’ image and move on to something a bit more sophisticated. Although McDonald’s has spent a lot of money to make talking your food out quicker and easier; such as self-ordering kiosks. they are also making a big push to make dinning a better experience if you choose to eat in their restaurants. More staff will be away from the cash, serving food and bringing it to your table in a more traditional dining manner. So far McDonald’s is only rolling this initiative in a few restaurants across the country, but if this catches on it could change everything for McDonald’s.
1. Interactive Play Zones
One of the major ongoing problems that face McDonald’s and other fast-food restaurants are the fact that their food is deemed unhealthy. McDonald’s, in particular, has been at the center of several high profile cases involving health and obesity, especially with children. Trying to combat this image and get people eating better, McDonald’s has made some major changes on its menu; offering more wraps, salads and soft drinks for example. Another initiative they tried was getting children moving whilst in their restaurants. Interactive Happy Meal Play Zones were rolled out across Britain way back in 2012. These play zones used a Nintendo Wii – like system, which uses motion-detecting and inferred cameras, to get kids active. Using McDonald’s characters, and also kids’ favorites like Bugs Bunny and Tweety Bird, the children were encouraged to follow gesture-based games in order to get them moving while having fun. Interactive kids’ games are becoming more and more popular within the food and retail markets but McDonald’s were one of the first to use them and they were way ahead of the time.