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Details emerge on new McDonald's tech move

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McDonald’s will enable smartphone users to place and pay for orders ahead of time starting in selected markets next year, according to a report by the website BusinessInsider.com.

A spokesperson told the site that as many as 25,000 McDonald’s restaurants worldwide could be offering the service by the end of 2018—a potential game-changer on the basis of market penetration alone.

A number of quick-service chains already offer order- and pay-ahead capabilities, including Starbucks and Chick-fil-A. The service has been particularly successful for Starbucks, where the mobile capability accounts for 6% of sales.

Chick-fil-A added the service as an aid to parents with children in tow. With the chicken chain’s app, a mom or dad can place an order and wait in the car for the food to be delivered by a staffer.

McDonald’s did not reveal the particulars of its service, but has cited it a number of times in discussing possible ways of speeding service.

It did not reveal a timetable with any of those prior mentions.

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