“Grandpa, can you bring me a Happy Meal?”
My 5-year-old granddaughter is always pestering me to buy her Happy Meals. She loves the French fries and the toys. And I don’t blame her…McDonald’s makes the best French fries in the world.
She has lots of company, too. People are eating more French fries and Big Macs than ever before. Every day, roughly 1% of the world’s population eats at McDonald’s.
Business is so good that a new restaurant is opened every 15 hours, adding to the 40,000+ McDonald’s restaurants in more than 140 countries. The chain serves 100+ million burgers per day and 65+ million Happy Meals.
Clearly, the Happy Meals my granddaughter loves so much are one of the fast-food industry’s greatest creations. The genius of the Happy Meal — which includes kid-sized portions plus a toy — was that it was, and is, a smash hit with children. Happy Meals initially included a puzzle and cartoons, but McDonald’s eventually partnered with Hollywood to include toys like Buzz Lightyear and Mario Brothers figurines.
More importantly, it shaved minutes off ordering times. Instead of waiting for hurried moms and indecisive kids to make up minds, the Happy Meal turbocharged the company’s Speedee Service System.
Indeed, McDonald’s is a “stealth” technology dominator. One example: McDonald’s unveiled its first fully automated store in Texas in December. That’s right…customers won’t encounter a single worker at the registers.
McDonald’s gets it…the future of fast food is digital and self-serve. MCD has spent hundreds of millions in self-service kiosks, mobile applications and technology for drive-thru customers because digital strategies accelerate more sales per hour.
The goal is simple: Speed customers through the ordering and payment process as fast as possible. McDonald’s knows that the best way to get fatter profits is to avoid the ordering window altogether by gently encouraging customers to self-serve. This entails in-store kiosks and the ability to place and pay for orders with the McDonald’s app.
Recommended Action: Buy MCD.