McDonald’s is poised to be the first major fast-food chain in America to allow customers to place orders via smartphone at all locations. I’m yet to try this, but seeing as how spotty the service can be at many locations, I am all ears.
The fast-food giant plans to roll out mobile ordering and payment at all 14,000 US locations in the fourth quarter of 2017. According to analysts, beating out the competition and becoming the first to debut mobile ordering nationally would be a major win for McDonald’s.
“Among the hamburger players, we believe that MCD is establishing a first-mover advantage with digital that can drive sustainable share gains in late 2017 and beyond,” analyst Jeff Farmer wrote in a note to clients Monday, CNBC reported.
Wendy’s seems likely to follow McDonald’s in achieving national mobile ordering, with plans to roll out mobile order and pay across half of its locations by the end of 2017, according to Farmer. Burger King and Jack in the Box are lagging behind, as their programs are still being tested.
By 2020, mobile ordering is expected to be a $38 billion industry, accounting for 10% of total fast-food sales, according to a BI Intelligence report.
However, as seen by recent mobile struggles at mobile-savvy chains like Starbucks and Sweetgreen, adding mobile ordering isn’t an automatic win. As more customers use mobile ordering, chains have found themselves forced to find new solutions to bottlenecks and crowds of customers at the busiest hours of business.