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Competition changes expectations: Change is the only constant?

For 60 years, McDonald?s dictated how customers ordered and got food. That?s changing now?it is a totally different mind-set. ?Competition and the rise of fast-casual chains have elevated expectations. Customers also increasingly demanding and McDonald?s is looking to technology to help make restaurants more convenient. The new approach may bring in the kind of customers who do not like queuing.

Jobs will be created to serve food and help customers with touch-screen orders

Mobile ordering introduced in the US in 2017

More digital kiosks opening

McDonalds Corp. plans to offer table service at all of its US restaurants, upending decades of fast-food tradition in a bid to placate pickier customers. Table service will be rolled out to the entire US chain. The shift is significant for a company most responsible for popularizing fast food -- along with a more stripped-down approach to restaurant service.

Other factors adding to the pressure if fast-food include a drop in the cost of groceries because it?s increasingly cheap for customers to eat at home and the increase in demand for healthy options. On the technology side McDonalds is investing in new self-serve kiosks and a mobile-ordering application. The plan includes expanding a smartphone ordering app across its 14,000 domestic locations, starting 2017 and the kiosks cost about $7,000 each.? McDonald?s had also fallen behind competitors in technology. Dunkin Donuts and Taco Bell already allow diners to order via smartphones, and Starbucks Corp. boasts millions of active rewards members. McDonald?s, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, is looking to grab some of those consumers with its own faster and more convenient service.

In addition to the new digital kiosks, McDonald?s is remodeling its US restaurants as part of a program it calls the ?experience of the future.? The changes have already been rolled out in restaurants in Germany, France, and the UK, and other international markets, where the improvements have helped increase sales, according to the company. Part of the broader upgrade in the US includes hiring more workers to ease the ordering process and deliver food to customers at their tables. The hiring push comes amid a tighter?US job market, with low unemployment and rising minimum wages. In response, restaurant chains and retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. have boosted pay to attract workers. In 2015, McDonald?s announced raises for employees at company-owned restaurants, which account for about 10% of the US total. The higher pay has reduced turnover and improved service, benefits that the company has highlighted to its franchisees.