Foodservice Equipment Reports

McDonald’s To Bring Futuristic UK Look To US

Now that it’s found success with its next-generation “Experience of the Future” restaurant in parts of Europe, Canada, and Australia, McDonald’s plans to further expand the program in the United States.

The company said in its second-quarter earnings conference call that more than half of its restaurants in Canada have been fully converted to the "Experience of the Future," while the U.K. count is near 40% and France is at nearly 25%, with table service in about 80% of restaurants. The look of stores have been updated and test locations feature tablets mounted tableside and sitting in kiosks where patrons can order custom "gourmet" burgers. In some stores, the tablets are interactive with and entertain customers.

McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook said the “Experience of the Future is the chain’s “biggest investment and operational change in its 41-year history in the U.K.”

In the U.S., the concept is still in the pilot phase, and McDonald’s does not yet have a formal rollout plan. Easterbrook, who called it a very exciting opportunity across the next few years in the U.S.,  also acknowledged that while he is being mindful of short-term needs, "we don’t want to lose the strategic direction that we believe is right for long term."

McDonald's, which announced plans earlier this month to move its headquarters from Oak Brook, Ill., to downtown Chicago, has lagged behind some of its competitors when it comes to technology. The chain does not allow ordering through its app nor does it offer a mobile-pay option. Easterbrook said the company has been testing various technologies in order to speed up service while improving order accuracy.

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