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McDonald's Ramps Up Mobile Options

OAK BROOK, Ill. — Could ramping up mobile options get more customers into the store? That's what McDonald's Corp. is hoping for.

The fast-food giant said during its investor day March 1 that the company lost 500 million customer transactions in the U.S. since 2012 to its competitors, reported Forbes. To offset this decline, McDonald's said it will roll out mobile ordering, mobile pay and curbside pickup at its 14,000 U.S. restaurants by the end of 2017.

The company also plans to convert 2,500 restaurants to the "Experience of the Future" by year-end. This includes table service, self-service ordering and a bigger menu from its McCafe line of crafted beverages. McDonald's said this concept should be in all its U.S. restaurants by 2020.

McDonald's also plans to expand its efforts with delivery companies, although 85 percent of its customers live within a three-mile radius of one of its restaurants, the news outlet reported.

"Our most important priority is guest counts," said McDonald’s Chief Strategy Officer Lucy Brady.

However, McDonald’s is late to the game in the mobile arena. Foodservice competitors like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Dominos and Taco Bell all have mobile apps that allow customers to order and pay. In fact, Domino’s credits the technology for a string of 23 consecutive quarters with same-store sales increases, as well as improvements in its food and menu variety. Its mobile pay rolled out two years ago, Forbes reported.

In the meantime, McDonald's is embarking on an expanded menu lineup and limited-time offers. Among these offers include: $1 sodas of any size and $2 smoothies, frappes and shakes during April; offering three sizes of its classic Big Mac; re-engineered straws alongside the Chocolate Shamrock Shake, and three new additional flavors for the company’s famous Shamrock Shake, CSNews Online previously reported.

According to Forbes, McDonald's has ambitious financial goals moving forward. It would like to see operating margins in the mid-40 percent range by 2019 and beyond, up from the current mid-20 percent range. To do so, the company is spending $1.7 billion to modernize its stores, hoping that technology can do what its menu alone has not done.

"To deliver sustained growth, we have to attract more customers, more often," stated CEO Steve Easterbrook. 

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