McDonald’s Global Experience of the Future

McDonald’s Global Experience of the Future

McDonald’s Global Experience of the Future 1440 428 Chute Gerdeman

From formica tables, fluorescent lighting, wood veneer, anchored metal swivel chairs, and intense accents of bright red and yellow, a lot has changed in the 70 plus years of McDonald’s history. The world’s largest restaurant chain serving over 69 million customers daily in over 100 countries and 37,000 outlets has been modernizing not only its menu but also the customer experience decade after decade. With global headquarters now relocated back to it’s home in Chicago, IL the QSR brand has aggressive plans to invest $6 billion to modernize McDonald’s restaurants by 2020. The brand’s new $250 million state-of-the-art headquarters will serve as a home to the company’s future, and a place to further connect with the community and consumers they serve.

McDonald's Headquarters
McDonald's Headquarters Exterior

“Our move back home to Chicago is about more than a building — it’s symbolic of our journey to transform our brand and become more closely connected with our customers,” McDonald’s CEO, Steve Easterbrook said in a statement. “Our new location enables us to better listen, learn, and engage with our customers whilst providing a modern, worker-friendly headquarters that fosters collaboration and re-energizes employees. We are thrilled to join the West Loop and add to the vitality of this community.”

Front Counter
McDonald's Front Counter

On the ground floor of its headquarters, a 6,000 square foot tech-forward restaurant demonstrates the elements of McDonald’s “Experience of the Future.” While some aspects of the brand’s traditional restaurant experience are noticeably absent like a drive-thru and public parking, they’ve been replaced with contemporary features catering to today’s consumer.

The overall EOTF is focused on enhancing “convenience, personalization, and choice.” The burger brand is even upping the ante on hospitality with increased touchpoints for customer interaction. A friendly greeter is there to help facilitate touch screen, self-ordering kiosks if needed, and tableside service is now available. An Aussie-inspired McCafe bar with trained baristas is even serving up handcrafted coffees.

McDonald's Kiosk
McDonald's Menu Board

For the first time all the chain’s leading edge technologies are now housed under one roof. Tables with touch charging for smartphones, crisp video screen menu boards, mobile pay and ordering, curbside pickup, and McDelivery with UberEats are all part of emphasizing convenience.

McDonald's Dining Area
McDonald's Dining Area

Clean lines and ambient lighting make the space feel modern, contemporary without being cold. Leather seats and lounge areas welcome you to stay a while if you’re not in a hurry on the go. Long communal tables accommodate larger groups, and phone chargers encourage recharging while refueling. Subtle accents like golden arches illuminated on the wall add a layer of sophistication for a fast food experience.

In addition to a European aesthetic, the global influence is reinforced with the extended food offer of global menu selections only previously offered at international locations. The rotating menu features food from six rotating countries like Australia’s Cheese & Bacon Loaded Fries, Canada’s Might Angus Original, McSpicy Chicken Sandwich from Hong Kong, and a Mozza Salad from France. But not to worry, guests can still enjoy the traditional fries and American fare.

McDonald's Italian Mozza Salad
McDonald's Mighty Angus

Aside from the globally inspired menu, customers will start to see these new design features adopted in restaurants across the US. And, for the first time ever it won’t be 100% at the expense of the franchisees. Historically major design updates were the sole responsibility of the restaurant operator making it somewhat difficult for owners to adopt. In a position for progressive change though McDonald’s is prepared to share theexpense. The brand is reportedly preparing to pay 55% of the restaurant design changes according to the Wall Street Journal.

Photo Credit: Chute Gerdeman | McDonald’s

Want to see how others are innovating in the fast food industry?  Check out our work with Wendy’s creating a live learning lab.

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