Why McDonald’s REALLY Wants You to Order Using its Upcoming App

Two happy meals are shown in this photo from McDonald's.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

You’ve mastered the art of drive-thru ordering. You’ve figured out the touch screens at the register. But are you ready for mobile ordering at McDonald’s?

The future is now! (Almost.)

America’s largest burger chain will roll out mobile ordering and payment in all its U.S. stores by the end of the year — that’s more than 14,000 locations where you can avoid human contact as much as possible.

“Customers will be able to place orders directly on the mobile app for pickup or have a kiosk recognize their app profile, which holds customized favorites and preferred payment methods,” the company said in a March 2017 statement. “The result is a more stress-free, personalized experience, enhanced by technology and world-class hospitality that puts customers in control.”

Convenience of McDonald’s App Might Crush Your Budget

McDonald’s isn’t the first fast-food joint to roll out mobile ordering. Taco Bell and Chick-fil-A already offer it, and Wendy’s seems ready to roll out its own system to half its stores this year, according to CNBC. At some Starbucks locations, mobile orders make up more than 20% of total sales.

But there’s a sneaky piece to this mobile ordering puzzle, and it’s how much you spend — surprise, surprise. A 2016 Deloitte survey found that people who place mobile fast-food orders visit 6% more frequently and spend 20% more per visit.

“Visits tend to increase because technology makes it easier to repeat an order automatically, while repeat orders of custom or upgraded drinks lead to increased sales,” the Chicago Tribune explained.

Still, the app could improve the ordering process for customers. McDonald’s has increased its efforts to improve order accuracy over the past few years by confirming drive-thru orders several times before the customer drives away with their nuggets. The latest mobile ordering push further increases the odds of accuracy by cutting out any verbal confusion during the ordering process.

Your Turn: Are you excited for McDonald’s mobile ordering? Do you use this feature at any other fast-food chains?

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.