How Covid-19 has transformed the fast-food franchise experience.

McDonald’s is the quintessential fast-food franchise, whose supersized company has become a staple in modern culture. The pandemic, with its constant string of changing restrictions in each country, has impacted the food industry heavily. McDonald’s, however, has risen out of the pandemic in its 3rd Financial quarter with rising profits. One year into his tenure, Chris Kempczinski, CEO of McDonald’s, has proven himself worthy of leading the franchise through the pitfalls of a pandemic. His plan is old school; scale back the menu sizes, sticking to their well-loved classics and investing in the future. From the Big Mac to Big Tech, in recent years the company invested heavily on big techs like their touch screen ordering systems, which remained unused during the course of the pandemic. However, the investment in other technological advancements is beginning to pay off as restrictions start to tighten. After a press release on November 9th, Mr Kempczinksi proved that no opportunity should be wasted during a crisis. Their marketing strategy ‘Doubling down of the 3 D’s‘, has laid out the route McDonald’s will be following in 2021. The 3 D’s includes Digital, Delivery and Drive-Thru strategies. As the pandemic continues to restrict movement and daily life, McDonald’s adapted their business to fit current customer behaviour. Their ‘Digital’ advancements include their highly coveted new ordering app that allows customers to join their loyalty scheme aptly name ‘MyMcDonalds’. The app provides customers with exclusive deals including their highly successful Travis Scott meal deal, which caused some stores to temporarily run out of ingredients. The app is the Beef patty in this business strategy, the staple ingredient allowing Delivery and Drive-Thru to run effectively, thanks to in-app order and payment. McDonald’s is known for their speed and convenience, 75% of the population lives within three miles of a McDonald’s. Hence, it makes financial sense to build a partnership with UberEats, the food delivery service, to help expand the efficiency of their delivery service. If customers cannot get to McDonald’s, McDonald’s must go to the customer and, most importantly, deliver the same level of service. Drive-Thrus have not changed other than increasing Covid-19 safety measures. Around 65% of McDonald’s globally have Drive-Thru, meaning during lockdown they could stay open and stick to government regulations. The US took lockdown to test out new technology and concepts that improve the speed of the McDonald’s experience. Express Drive-Thru for app orders are being implemented to assist an increasing number of orders and the speed at which people receive their meals as, meanwhile, the traditional Drive-Thru has been receiving automated upgrades.

These advancements in technology are only going to become greater. The McDonald’s experience is almost completely contactless with customers having minimal contact with employees and other customers. McDonald’s has always promoted itself as the company that supports local communities, something that people respected after around 10 million meals were donated to frontline workers. As the second wave of the pandemic is sinking its teeth into the population, it looks like this contactless experience is here to stay with more fast-food companies looking at McDonald’s for inspiration.  

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