Mobile Marketer has re-launched! Click here to learn more!

McDonald?s firms up mobile strategy to drive in-store traffic

Fast food giant McDonald?s is making a bigger play in the mobile space with the launch of a new application that drives consumers to the nearest location and illustrates the company?s commitment to offer improved nutritional choices.

The mobile app is part of a national marketing initiative that includes a long-term plan, which features ongoing menu evolution and nutrition awareness communication. The app is available for free download in Apple?s App Store.

"Harnessing the power of location is especially important for businesses with thousands of points where consumers can access a very standardized and dependable product," said Wilson Kerr, Brookline, MA-based location-based services consultant.

"Quick serve restaurants tend to have very loyal customers and giving them a  tool that is on for 16 hours a day to allow dedicated patrons to locate a nearby restaurant seems like a very good idea," he said. "The fact that the McDonald's home office can use this as innovative and concrete support for franchise owners means an additional benefit, as they can tell each lication how many times directions and location details were served up, in realtime.

"Tracking the number of requests for directions given, successfully navigated routes, in-store redemptions of coupons for new menu items, or other mobile marketing initiatives could be rolled in, as well as powerful new tools like mobile payment or mobile ordering for takeout."

Mr. Kerr is not affiliated with McDonald's. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

McDonald?s is the world's largest burger chain, serving nearly 47 million customers daily.

Food for thought
The McDonald?s app features a restaurant locator and nutrition information.

Hungry consumers can search for the nearest McDonald?s location by entering their ZIP code.

Customers can also search restaurants by state.

After finding the closest location, consumers can browse a map and find directions on how to get there, view employment opportunities, send comments, view a calendar of events and email the manager.

Customers can also see the location?s hours.

Additionally, the app lets consumers view nutrition information.

Customers can browse nutritional information by category such as sandwiches, french fries, breakfast or any of the McDonald?s McCafe drinks.

There, consumers can browse calorie, protein, total fat and carbohydrate information, amongst others.

The McDonalds iPhone app

Consumers can find the nearest location

Mobile jobs
The app also features a careers tab for consumers interested in applying for a job at the company.

Interested applicants can view a video that highlights McDonald?s employees and how potential employees can grow with the company.

Consumers can also search available positions via the app.

"Imagine a minivan full of hungry kids and a set of parents looking for the golden arches in an unfamiliar city," Mr. Kerr said. "Pulling into a random burger place is a big risk, as you do not know what you'll get.

"A Happy Meal is a Happy Meal at every McD's and this consistency means a happy carload of kids," he said. "Providing an app for that seems like a recipe for success." 

Final Take
Rimma Kats is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York