McDonald’s has the second most popular quick-service restaurant app in the U.S., behind only Starbucks (via QSR). McDonald’s and other fast-food chains know how important it is to have a lot of people using their apps, a lot of the time. “Having a first-class mobile strategy is a necessity for [quick-serves], … or they face being relics of the past,” a market insights manager at App Annie told QSR magazine.
Apps are the latest disruptor in the fast-food business, much like drive-thrus were a couple of generations ago. They build customer loyalty without the need for an expensive national ad campaign that uses old technologies such as television and print media. How do they do this? Big data. Few people bother, but if you scroll through McDonald’s privacy notice (something you must click to accept, before using the app), you’ll find that McDonald’s can track your favorite orders, the times of day you like to eat, and your location. They even monitor your activity on other apps, websites, and social media platforms. This enables them to create an advertising campaign just for you, without hiring a celebrity spokesperson or offering a dollar menu, which has been disappearing because McDonald’s loses money on it (via Business Insider).
Go ahead, download the McDonald’s app and grab those free fries every Fry Day until June 27. Just remember, big data is watching.