McDonald’s strides in technology have stemmed from a few consistent goals: to increase customer counts by retaining current patrons, to win back consumers who defected to other restaurant brands during McDonald’s past struggles, and to boost the frequency of what it called “casual customers.” The burger giant has made a major investment in its tech-forward turnaround to provide a new level of convenience to guests—one that, if successful, will no doubt put pressure on other concepts to rethink their service capabilities. Here’s a breakdown of McDonald’s efforts.


McDonald’s expects to launch mobile order and pay in some of its largest U.S. markets starting in Q4, and is currently testing the system in 29 California units and 51 Washington locations. The chain plans to use its mobile app to speed up to-go service by offering customers three ways to pick up mobile orders—in the restaurant, via curbside delivery or through the drive-thru. To account for the anticipated influx of mobile orders, McDonald’s is redesigning its kitchens with improvements such as modular configurations and new equipment to speed up service and improve work flow.


McDonald’s is currently testing delivery through UberEats in Florida and plans to expand that test later this year. “With 14,000 restaurants in the United States, we are structurally advantaged to win in delivery,” said Chris Kempczinski, McDonald’s U.S. president, at the company’s Investor Day in March. Why? Because of its proximity to customers: It claims that nearly 75% of the population lives within 3 miles of a McDonald’s. The company’s international performance indicates success in off-premise already. It reports annual systemwide delivery sales of nearly $1 billion across various markets, including China, South Korea and Singapore. 

'Experience of the Future'

By the end of this year, McDonald’s plans to add its kiosk and table-service initiative to 650 units, bringing its total number of updated locations to 2,500. McDonald’s has been testing the program since 2015 and plans to expand it to all 14,000 of its U.S. locations. McDonald’s says units already updated with kiosks and table service have experienced sales gains in the mid-single digits.

More on McDonald's

  • The "experience of the future" includes table service.
  • Diners can claim drive-thru orders placed via mobile with their order number at the window.
  • McD's switched to communal tables and new art for its Chicago prototype.
  • In the future, kiosks will read a signal from an app user’s phone to suggest orders and default payment.

Photography by Leny Gilmore