OAK BROOK, Ill. — McDonald's is joining the mobile world with the launch of its app, which features a loyalty program centering around one of its beverage offerings.
According to The Associated Press, customers can earn a free beverage after five purchases of McCafe drinks, such as coffees and shakes. The mobile app debuted this week in the San Diego area and is slated to hit New York City in the near future.
The Oak Brook-based fast-food chain will roll out its mobile app nationally in October.
McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook, who is trying to revive the chain's slumping sales, acknowledged the company has been a "little behind some others" with its app. As fast-food chains try to court younger customers, mobile apps have increasingly been seen as a way to offer convenience and build customer loyalty, the news outlet reported.
By comparison, Starbucks Corp. said that about 20 percent of purchases in the United States are now made through its app. Later this year, it plans to let customers in the United States use its app to place orders before getting to the store.
According to the AP, McDonald's Corp.'s mobile app is still limited. It features include a store locator, menu and nutritional information for various items. Customers can't order or pay for food through the app.
Becca Hary, a McDonald's spokeswoman, said franchisees will also be able to promote the local deals in their respective regions through the new app. In the San Diego area, McDonald's said initial offers include a buy one, get-one-free coupon for Big Macs.
Hary said the company will continue refining the app and that promotional offers will become more tailored over time. She said the app is launching in New York this week as well, according to the news outlet.
The McCafe loyalty program is set to expire at year-end and the company will determine then whether to continue it, she said.