If there is one company that can rightfully take pride in having its finger on its customer expectations and keeping up with it, it is McDonald’s. As early as 2005, this global quick service restaurant (QSR) giant started its digital transformation journey by introducing online ordering and digitization of its restaurants in a bid to get a head start in delivering new services.
However, its digitally-savvy, always-connected customers sought newer experiences. McDonald’s realized that they wanted meals that they could ultra-personalize and even self-order using digital payment methods. The company decided to tinker with a forward-thinking tech strategy keeping these dynamic customer anticipation at the center of its processes, people and plans.
That is how it came up with the futuristic Experience Of The Future (EOTF) concept in late 2016, where its retail outlets would have self-ordering kiosks, smart menu boards, air chargers at tables and table service. It even predicted that these digital ordering kiosks could replace cashiers in over 2,500 restaurants globally. These initiatives were part of the company’s global strategy of creating experiential zones within its QSRs to provide diners convenience through interactive technology.
Closer home, Hardcastle Restaurants, the master franchisee for McDonald’s Corporation USA – which owns and operates the brand’s restaurants in western and southern India since 1996 – too decided to run a pilot project for EOTF-oriented stores in March 2017. It chose select stores where it could add kiosk ordering and table service, so that once the order is placed and the meal prepared, an associate would bring it to diner’s table, as opposed to the customer collecting it at the counter.
“Indian customers are quite comfortable with digitization and find it a convenient way to engage with a brand,” said Akshay Jatia, director, Hardcastle Restaurants, while explaining this concept. “This has emerged as a global trend in the restaurant industry where companies are evolving customer experience offerings using digital technology. Seeing its rising importance, we decided to adopt this trend by offering a digitized restaurant experience.”
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