McDonald’s is in the middle of a major back-office overhaul and technology refresh which began last year.
The work is being carried out on three to four restaurants over night to cause as little disruption to the company’s business as possible.

McDonald’s has outsourced some of its IT support services, such as its helpdesk support, and has consolidated and standardised its back-office platforms throughout the company. Over the last two years the company has put an increasing emphasis on technology enabling the business and is now, having dealt with the back office, concentrating on the front line with customer service, as it tries to increase sales after disappointing results last year and improve its efficiency.

It is expanding touch screen tills and wireless devices, incorporating them into speaker systems at drive-through operations so that customers can place their orders earlier and have less time to wait once they arrive at the drive-through window. The orders are transmitted straight to the kitchens for cooking. Full rollout of the system is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

The company is also increasing its use of credit and debit cards and it will begin to work on introducing gift and loyalty cards, which have already been tested in the US, later this year.

In a recent, connected move the company has joined with mobile operator NTT DoCoMo in Japan to develop a system that allows mobile users to buy their food at McDonald’s restaurants using their mobile phones and which can link them with the loyalty membership scheme.

On an internal note, in the UK the company has introduced an employee website, called Out Lounge, launched in September 2006. The website enables its staff to gain GCSE-type qualifications through online courses and tutors. Employees will be able to take recognised Level 1 and 2 qualifications in accredited exam centre restaurants.