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Giving Customers What They Want Is Recipe for Success at McDonald’s

I’m going out a limb here to say I’m pretty sure most of you reading this post have, at one time or another, eaten at McDonald’s. That said, most of us accurately think of “fast” not “personalized” when it comes to the food and service we’ve received under the Golden Arches.

But now, McDonald’s seems to be enjoying a bit of a renaissance by continuing to do the things that made them the world’s preeminent fast-food brand, but also by focusing more on giving customers what they want, when they want it.

As simple as it seems, many businesses that serve the public—or sell products and services to other businesses—often lose their way when it comes to ensuring that what they do is in sync with what their customers want. That’s why major brands that once dominated their markets are often toppled by newcomers that deliver a variation on the market leader’s way of doing things.

An article in eMarketer, How McDonald’s Is Getting Its Mojo Back, tells the informative story of how the iconic burger maker is responding to customers’ needs, and driving more revenue and profit as a result.

According to the story by Andria Cheng, McDonald’s had a better-than-expected Q2 global comparable-sales gain of 6.6 percent, its eighth straight quarter of positive same-store sales increases. Customer visit counts rose 3 percent. While those single-digit growth percentages might not have been newsworthy in decades past, any brick-and-mortar retailer probably would be pretty happy with them in today’s environment.

So, what exactly is the one-time “You Deserve a Break Today” restaurateur doing to better serve its customers? A few key things:

  • It’s giving customers “healthier, natural, and environmentally conscious food, including using more cage-free eggs, sustainable beef and a plan to use fresh beef instead of frozen meat for its Quarter Pounder in all US restaurants by mid-2018.” Score one for the environmentalist and health-conscious constituencies.
  • After years of “all-day breakfast” being the top wish of U.S. customers, the restaurant finally delivered on that in 2015.
  • McDonald’s also is taking a page from its competitors’ playbooks and offering bundled meal deals and other offers for lower-cost items, such as smoothies and coffee drinks.
  • To keep the fast in fast food while still increasing personalization, McDonald’s is remodeling stores into what it calls “Experience of the Future” concepts. These include “ordering kiosks that customers can use to personalize their menus. Those restaurants also have freed up some behind-the-counter staff to deliver food to patrons’ tables.” That’s definitely not the traditional drive-thru window ordering experience with the indecipherable voice on the speaker repeating your order—you hope correctly—before telling you (I think) to “drive up to the window.”
  • Other innovations McDonald’s has deployed include expansion of mobile order and pay capabilities and even online deliver courtesy of UberEATS, which was tested in Miami earlier this year to positive customer reviews.

For any brand—especially one primarily reliant on brick-and-mortar operations—delivering innovations that provide an outstanding customer experience is a top priority. Of course, even better is engaging with customers regularly, which might enable a brand to identify needs before they become a torrent of Internet complaints and “Why can’t they do this” memes. Check out the TimeTrade State of Retail 2017 report to see what consumers think about their retail experiences.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t have guessed that McDonald’s would ever have “Global McDelivery Day,” which is what the venerable burger-and-fries maker celebrated this week.

I guess I’ll stop writing now and put in an order for a Big Mac, fries and a shake to be delivered to my desk. Please don’t judge me.

Say… wouldn’t it be great if McDonald’s offered online appointment scheduling, so I could meet with the person who’s going to prepare my meal and tell then exactly how I like

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Written by Kevin Flanagan

Kevin is director of content marketing for TimeTrade. He develops and curates the company’s public-facing information to enable customers and prospects to see the unique value TimeTrade solutions deliver to their businesses and teams. He also leads the company’s public relations program. In a high-technology career spanning three decades, Kevin has brought his communications and marketing expertise to a number of leading brands, including Verizon, PictureTel, Yankee Group, 3Com and Carbon Black. Before launching his tech career, Kevin honed his communications skills during 5 years as a radio news anchor and reporter. He earned a degree in English literature, but he credits his obsession with grammar, spelling and punctuation perfection to 12 years of daily drilling in parochial school.

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