McDonald’s Finally Has Mobile Ordering

McDonald’s Corp has begun testing its long-awaited U.S. mobile ordering app, with the goal of avoiding the kinds of service hiccups that have haunted digital debuts by companies such as Starbucks .

Digital ordering has been challenging for many restaurant chains and their customers. Domino’s Pizza, now the industry leader, took years to perfect it. Starbucks’ technology took far less time, but in January the chain said mobile orders poured in faster than they could be processed, creating backlogs that drove away time-crunched walk-in customers.

McDonald’s sees mobile as a way to win back customers after four straight years of traffic declines, but the project is not without risks.

“We can’t impact the speed or the quality of our food,” Jim Sappington, McDonald’s executive vice president of operations, digital and technology, told Reuters in an interview at a temporary warehouse space in Chicago’s West Loop where the company has built a new high tech restaurant. It features a redesigned kitchen to speed order flow and show off its technology initiatives.

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