4 Big McDonald’s Customer Experience Innovations

Back in November 2020, McDonald’s embarked on a multi-year growth strategic program called Accelerating the Arches. It is now 2023, what has the chain done to build a better customer experience?

Introduction – McDonald’s Accelerating The Arches Program

The Accelerating The Arches Program is to refresh and reshape McDonald’s commitment to serve and foster communities around the world and to update its values for expansion through three growth pillars.

These growth pillars which are based on its identity, MCD, showcase its strengths and identify improvement areas. Specifically, the fast food chain wants to focus on:

Maximize our Marketing by investing in new, culturally relevant approaches to effectively communicate the story of brand, food, and purpose. 

Commit to the Core by tapping into customer demand for the familiar and focusing on serving delicious burgers, chicken, and coffee. 

Double Down on the 3 D’s (Digital, Delivery, and Drive Thru) by leveraging competitive strengths and building a powerful digital experience growth engine that provides a fast, easy experience for our customers.”

“In countries around the world, we have seen customer behaviors change at an unprecedented pace over the last several months. We believe this presents an opportunity to do something special as we write the next great chapter of McDonald’s,” said McDonald’s President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Kempczinski.

“By embracing a bigger, more holistic vision for the future, Accelerating the Arches defines how McDonald’s will deliver value to all stakeholders by providing a clear roadmap of what we can do for the millions of customers, in the thousands of communities, we serve each and every day. With our new growth strategy, we will build on our inherent strengths by harnessing our competitive advantages and investing in innovations that enable us to continue to offer fast, easy moments for our customers.”

4 Big McDonald’s Customer Experience Innovations

Over the past 31 months, the chain refined its menu in North America to focus on customer feedback. For example, it announced a significant investment in its core burger product back in April 2023:

Cooking tiny minced onions which will lend more flavor and color

The cheese will be melted on the grill with the burger patty to give it the same feeling as the home BBQ experience

Big Macs will get a healthy dose of the secret sauce that everyone loves

Buns will be upgraded and toasted as a better support vessel for the contents.

Big Investments To Its Burger – Can You Spot The Difference (Left: Old Burger, Right: New Burger) (Source: McDonald’s)

Restaurants around the world will serve burgers using these new processes by the end of 2024 with select international locations such as Australia, Belgium, and Canada already switched over.

It partnered with the donut chain, Krispy Kreme, back in October 2022 on a limited trial of popular treats in nine Louisville area restaurants.

The specialty menu included the following:

The Original Glazed® Doughnut: a melt-in-your-mouth doughnut covered in Krispy Kreme’s signature glaze. The doughnut that started it all.

The Chocolate Iced with Sprinkles Doughnut: a chocolate-y twist on the Original, hand-dipped in chocolate icing and covered in rainbow sprinkles.

The Raspberry Filled Doughnut: glazed and filled with a sweet, yet tangy raspberry jelly. A classic fan-favorite.

Krispy Kreme partnership on donuts (Source: Krispy Kreme)

While its McCafe concept serves donuts currently, this partnership expands Krispy Kreme’s footprint while providing customers with better-tasting products. If successful, we might see the trial expanded to other locations nationwide.

Other recent partnerships include IBM on using artificial intelligence to manage and automate drive-thru lanes (2021), offering Beyond Meat plant-based products (2021), and celebrity-fuelled (e.g., Mariah Carey, Travis Scott, BTS, etc.), menu offerings (2022).

Glovo agreed to a new long-term global strategic partnership that helps McDonald’s serve its customers through the McDelivery platform around the world. Customers can initiate food ordering using the restaurant’s mobile application or online.

Since the pandemic, delivery has played a bigger role in the fast food chain’s growth strategy to bring its product to households. Its delivery footprint has expanded from 3,000 restaurants to more than 35,000 restaurants across 100 markets through different platforms such as UberEATS, Skip The Dishes, and DoorDash.

Expanding Into The Household Through McDelivery Services (Source: McDonald’s)

Rodrigo Alier, Executive Director Partners & Brands at Glovo:
“This new global partnership is the next big step with our long-time partner, McDonald’s, in Glovo’s core markets. Glovo’s strategy is to become the best digital ally for restaurants, enabling new opportunities to keep growing the market together, and we look forward to providing a seamless experience for customers when they choose us for their McDonald’s favorites.”

Rewards Program
Before 2021, McDonald’s has a very simple rewards program. Select countries will provide customers with a card to accumulate stickers for every coffee or tea purchased. Seven stickers will lead to a complimentary free beverage of any size.

This all changed when the fast food chain announced a new spending-based rewards program called MyRewards in November 2021. For every $1 spent (in the United States and Canada), customers will earn 100 points toward all types of food and beverage rewards. Free items for redemption start at 2,000 points and can be redeemed through the McDonald’s mobile application or at the restaurant globally.

Beyond providing customers with more points earning and redemption opportunities, the new rewards program extends the customer engagement journey with personalized promotions, new product introductions, and digital coupons.

McDonald’s Launch A New Loyalty Program in November 2021 (Source: McDonald’s)

“Our guests are some of the most loyal in the world, and we’re pleased to offer them more reasons to visit us, again and again. This announcement marks another step in our digital ambition as we continue transforming the McDonald’s experience on both sides of the counter, which began with the introduction of self-serve kiosks in 2015,” said Jacques Mignault, President & Chief Executive Officer, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited.

“Our ongoing investment in technology is helping to drive exponential growth across our channels, including McDelivery, Drive-Thru, in restaurants and via our mobile offerings and digital innovations, which gives our guests greater options and personalization across their McDonald’s experience.”

What are other McDonald’s innovations you like over the past five years? Comment below.

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