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McDonald's Will Solicit Tech Advice From SXSW Attendees

The burger chain is looking for free help.


In addition to lining up for McDonald's new food truck, this year's SXSW attendees will get to weigh in on McDonald's use of technology now and for the foreseeable future. America's biggest burger chain is hosting three "pitch sessions" at SXSW in which the company will solicit ideas from the tech space in three main categories: the restaurant experience ("This is not about tweeting, ordering online or Wi-Fi connectivity.... We are talking about multiple screens, proximity technology, personalization and even smart packaging."); content creation; and transportation and delivery.

Imagine a world where drones could deliver you food while you're driving down the highway.

McDonald's writes in its announcement, "Our existing idea of door-to-door delivery and drive-thru will soon be obsolete. Imagine a world where drones could deliver you food while you're driving down the highway." Heads up, McDonald's: eating while driving is actually illegal in most states.

CEO Steve Easterbrook, who started with the company on March 1, was previously McDonald's chief brand officer. In an interview in January, Easterbrook hinted at the ways in which he thought McDonald's could appeal to millennials through technology. Soon, he said, diners won't just go up to a counter and place their order; there will be "four or five different ways of going through the entire McDonald's ordering experience."

Easterbrook has been gearing up for this change since late last year when, according to the Chicago Tribune, he expanded the company's technology department tenfold: from 20 people to 200. Is technology the bridge between McDonald's burgers and those sweet, sweet millennial dollars? Easterbrook certainly hopes so.

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