Getting your hands on a Big Mac will soon require just a few taps of a screen: McDonald’s is moving forward with its plans to roll out a mobile order and pay system, and it’s slated to be available at all 14,000-plus of its U.S. stores by the end of the year.
While the fast-food titan is somewhat late hopping on the mobile ordering bandwagon — companies like Taco Bell, Starbucks, Domino’s, and even Chick-fil-A have been using it for what seems like ages — it has pulled ahead of some of its other biggest competitors: Per CNBC, a Wells Fargo analyst notes that Wendy’s is also poised to roll out mobile order-and-pay by the end of the year, but it will only be available in half its stores, while Burger King and Arby’s are still testing their own platforms.
What will remain to be seen, of course, is how many people will actually bother to use mobile ordering for their Egg McMuffins and McFlurries. Starbucks, which rolled out its mobile order-and-pay feature to every U.S. store way back in fall 2015, sees a large portion of its business coming from mobile orders — many stores see more than 20 percent of their total sales from the mobile app — but it takes considerably longer to make a Frappuccino than it does to grab a burger out from under a heat lamp, meaning customers are more apt to turn to the convenience of ordering ahead via smartphone.
Though it may be hard to beat the convenience of swinging through the drive-thru, there are some other advantages to mobile ordering — for the brands, anyway: Evidence shows that diners who use mobile ordering platforms to order from quick-service chains spend more per order and are more inclined to tack on additional items. It also tends to improve order accuracy — so if you’re tired of your “no onions” requests not being heeded, mobile ordering might be the way to go.