Fast-food chain McDonald's has launched a mobile app in what appears to be yet another effort to prop up lagging sales. The app, called McDonald's Mobile, is available in the San Diego area and includes a loyalty program for drinks as well as nutritional information for menu items.
The app also was expected to launch in New York City this week, Becca Hary, a spokeswoman for the corporation, told the Associated Press. McDonald's Mobile includes "exclusive offers on great food," plus nutrition information and restaurant locations, a description of the app on the iTunes store says. But customers cannot place orders or pay via the app.
It has been two years since the company first indicated it would roll out an app. Since then, it has fallen further behind other popular chains, including Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts and Chipotle, in developing technology that would allow customers to order Big Macs on their iPhones or earn points for purchases.
McDonald's has been "a little behind some others" in terms of its mobile apps, CEO Steve Easterbrook admitted, the AP reported. The company did have one previous app, the McD, which gave customers coupons and discounts, which are features that hardly seem to differ from the newly launched version. A headline in BloombergBusiness dubbed the McD a "glorified coupon."
— McDonalds NYTriState (@McDNYTriState) August 11, 2015
The company has also suffered from sagging sales, which fell for the seventh straight quarter, the company reported in July. Perhaps in hopes of boosting its popular appeal or widening its consumer base, it has experimented in recent months with menu changes, such as adding kale to a breakfast bowl and promising to phase out the use of chicken raised with human antibiotics.
For companies that get mobile apps right, new technology can help business boom. Starbucks said in April that its app, which allows customers to pay for coffees, tip baristas and collect points, accounted for nearly 20 percent of revenue in the second quarter of 2015. The previous quarter, the app was responsible for 16 percent of payments, Bloomberg reported.
McDonald's new app will allow franchises to promote special deals and will also give customers a free beverage for every five they purchase. It is scheduled to be launched nationwide in October.