Bringing back temporarily cut menu items, decreasing wait times at drive-thrus, and, most recently, partnering with superstar rapper Travis Scott on a signature meal, have been some strategies McDonald's has employed this year to keep their customers coming back. But it looks like the burger giant has some more aces up its sleeve to increase customer loyalty. (Check out these 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.)
According to a meeting report surfaced by The New York Post, which took place between McDonald's top execs and brokerage firm Morgan Stanley, McDonald's is working on a brand new loyalty program. Notes from the meeting revealed the company is ready to start testing the new initiative, which will be a key feature on their mobile app, but the details are still scarce.
The chain currently runs a similar loyalty program on their McCafe beverages through their app, where every sixth coffee order is free.
When it comes to loyalty programs on food items, however, McDonald's is falling behind the competition. For example, Chipotle's loyalty program can earn customers a free entree, Papa John's rewards customers with free pizza cash, and Wendy's and Taco Bell doll out freebie food when customers place digital orders. (For more freebies, check out 16 Fast-Food Loyalty Programs That Can Save You Money Right Now.)
It's unclear why McDonald's has been holding out on giving customers an opportunity to earn a free Big Mac, but Morgan Stanley predicts the initiative will help the company where it matters most—at the drive-thru.
During the height of the pandemic, almost 100% of the company's sales happened at the drive-thru windows, which has helped it fare much better than many other chains with fewer drive-thru locations (McDonald's operates drive-thrus at 95% of their U.S. locations.) The loyalty program could prompt more people to place digital orders and cut down on the time they spend in the drive-thru lanes.
While McDonald's is still mum about the news, experts predict the awards could include buy-one-get-one-free deals for Egg McMuffins, Quarter Pounders, and Big Macs, as well as $1 off coupons.
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