McDonald's hoping tech upgrades will level playing field with fast casuals

| by Cherryh Cansler
McDonald's hoping tech upgrades will level playing field with fast casuals

McDonald’s, which over the past few years has been losing market share to fast casual brands, is ready to play ball. Although it's gotten a few base hits this year, with all-day breakfast, using only cage-free eggs and decluttering the menu, the QSR giant again has stepped up its game by investing in technology in order to keep customers, especially millennials, happy. It announced last weekthat it’s JustForYou initiative, which includes adding self-serve order stations and table delivery, will eventually be in units across the entire U.S.

After a successful pilot of the chain’s "JustForYou experience" at 500 revamped U.S. restaurants in New York, Florida and Southern California, McDonald's has deployed it in another 2,000 restaurants and will soon add it to locations in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and Chicago, according to QSRWeb

There isn't a specific deadline for all units to add the upgrades, considering that most locations are franchisee-owned and that costs of the new system falls on franchisees, according to McDonald's. Customers, however, can check out the new format by immersing themselves into a full virtual reality experience offered on the JustForYou site.



The initiative also includes an upgrade to the McDonald's app, which has been downloaded by 16 million people. It will pilot mobile ordering and payment in the United States in the first half of 2017, and do a national rollout in the second half, according to

Panera Bread rolled out a similar initiative — Panera 2.0 — a few years ago and has enjoyed increases in traffic and profitability. Time will tell if McDonald's will enjoy a similar result. 

Topics: Systems / Technology, Trends / Statistics

Cherryh Cansler

Before joining Networld Media Group as director of Editorial, where she oversees Networld Media Group's nine B2B publications, Cherryh Cansler served as Content Specialist at Barkley ad agency in Kansas City. Throughout her 17-year career as a journalist, she's written about a variety of topics, ranging from the restaurant industry and technology to health and fitness. Her byline has appeared in a number of newspapers, magazines and websites, including Forbes, The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine. She also serves as the managing editor for

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