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McDonald’s rolls out mobile app, beverage loyalty program

After much anticipation, McDonald’s has begun rolling out its mobile app in the U.S., starting with the San Diego and New York City markets.

Through the app, customers can earn a free beverage after purchasing five McCafe drinks, such as coffee and shakes, the Associated Press reports. They can also locate nearby stores and glance at the chain’s menu and nutritional information.

As of now, mobile-ordering and payment capabilities are not available.

Franchisees will be able to use the app to promote local deals, Becca Hary, a McDonald's spokeswoman, told the AP. In San Diego, McDonald's said initial offers include a buy one, get one free coupon for Big Macs.

The company will continue making app adjustments and will tailor promotional offers as time goes on, Hary said.

On a July earnings call, McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbook admitted the fast-food giant is “a little behind” its competition in terms of app development. As quick-service chains work to capture millennial dollars, mobile apps are seen as a prime way to spread the word about in-store promotions, offer convenient ordering and payment options, and build brand loyalty.

Last month, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz reported that more than 20 percent of the coffee chain’s in-store sales are made through its smartphone app

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