McDonald’s Mobile Ordering in Canada Coming, Here’s How It’ll Work [u]


McDonald’s announced last fall mobile ordering would land in Canada this year, as part of a global rollout. In an interview with Reuters, the fast food chain detailed how their system would work, as part of today’s beta launch at select U.S. locations.

The McDonald’s mobile app builds on the company’s recent deployment of digital ordering kiosks (which are slow af by the way). Customers will place their mobile order using the app and your device location will be key in ensuring your order is made in a timely fashion to remain fresh, so it won’t sit long under a heat lamp.

Jim Sappington, McDonald’s executive vice president of operations, digital and technology, told Reuters, “Our focus is to make the overall experience clearly better,” noting how it is crucial for mobile orders to be made at the right time, or users will question why they used the app in the first place.

How will McDonald’s mobile ordering work? Users place their orders using the McDonald’s mobile app. As customers arrive at their McDonald’s location, the app will ask for confirmation and payment before it sends in your order. There will also be designated mobile order parking spots located outside McDonald’s restaurants. The final version of the app will ask users if they want table service, counter or drive-thru pick up.

Some are doubting the last minute mobile order confirmation, such as Janna Sampson, co-chief investment officer at Oakbrook Investments LLC (they hold 65,000 McDonald’s shares), telling Reuters, “If they don’t start your order until you pull in the lot, are you really gaining that much time?”

The mobile ordering pilot kicked off today at 29 locations in Monterey and Salinas, California, while 51 restaurants in Spokane, Washington will be added on March 20.

By the end of this year, all 14,000 American locations, plus nearly 6,000 locations in Canada, the UK, France, Australia, Germany and China, will get mobile ordering.

McDonald’s says the launch of mobile ordering will also allow transactions times to be cut down, reduce errors, while also allow more free time for workers to do other tasks such as deliver food to tables.

The fast food chain hopes to avoid mobile order growth problems like Starbucks, which revealed this year mobile orders started to cause their own backlogged line ups in stores. But for the most part, our tests have revealed the Starbucks system to be pretty good with time estimates.

Who’s looking forward to McDonald’s mobile ordering?

Update October 25, 2017: Mobile orders have launched in Canada only in 3 cities.


  • dannymalt

    I’ve had nothing but positive experience with their digital ordering kiosks, totally not slow as you say. They are quicker than waiting in the line of people just waiting to put their order in and pay, in the regular line. Digital kiosks are so much more efficient, it’s like at the move theater, waiting in a line of 20 people to pay for your tickets at the booth with the person, or getting them from the plenty of machines instantly.

  • Olley

    great. they’re all turning you into free labour tech slaves.

  • karinatwork

    Used that kiosk thingie 4 times so far. Two times out of those 4 the receipt printer wasn’t working. The number displayed on the screen is different than the number that will print on your receipt. Good luck finding an employee willing to help you. A big mess.

  • MrXax

    The kiosks are slow and really unresponsive sometimes, but I still prefer them to waiting in line. This’ll be even better, in theory.

  • mrideas

    Agreed their kiosks are generally terrible and I would agree’slow af’ lol. Even better during their free coffee promo you couldn’t order regular coffee at the kiosk??? You actually had to see a human. They are already incredibly slow most of the time based on my experience. The kiosks only added to the misery of their lousy wait times. Too many orders jammed in and not enough people to make them and then serve them up. I think mobile orders will be a complete disaster unless they intend to hire a shit ton more people…sounds good as a concept but someone’s gonna regret this decision. Ask Starbucks. Mobile ordering when its busy is just as busy as waiting in line. Almost no advantage generally.

  • mrideas

    Haha. Yes totally forgot about the missing receipts. That’s happened so many times I stopped using the kiosks because then you have no idea what the order number is or if it went through even. Getting a replacement receipt is hideous as well. In fact every time I got grief over asking for one. Seems like a production lol.

  • Gary Croxford

    Kiosks might be slow, but with children that change their minds two dozen times during the ordering process, they’re an awesome addition!

    They give you time to properly browse the menu too – those displays where the menus used to be are difficult to read at distance, then they disappear showing an animation of the current seasonal offers. Tim hortons are just as bad and could most definitely use mobile ordering.

  • johnnygoodface

    “which are slow af by the way” … what is a “af”?

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  • erth

    i look forward to all automation. i am tired of repeating myself to people and waiting in line behind people who don’t know what they want.

  • Tim

    This is good. I’m assuming you’ll be able to save favourites and customizations, to make it even faster than the kiosks.

  • Dehop

    The kiosk UI was designed by someone who took too many bad cues from iOS. Animations are too slow for anyone other than those totally new to the system; I tap on something I want it updated as fast as possible, no wait for a 2-second start-to-finish animation before the UI is responsive again. I figure my breakfast order could be done in as little as 10 seconds if animations were lightning-fast, but in the current UI it takes over a minute.

    Still faster than going through the drive-through at rush hour though.

  • Steve W

    I still like ordering from a human, as it keeps a lot of young people employed and helps their social skills.

  • Sam Chiu

    Gary, the article is a good one, your use of “AF”, not so much.

  • Tim

    Whenever I’ve gone into a McD’s, I’ve noticed that the lines have gone from waiting for a human to take your order, to waiting for a kiosk to order yourself

  • jabohn

    Kiosks are totally fine and fast here too. Compared to someone who enters the restaurant the same time as me but opts for the regular line, I usually get my food way before them.

  • ticky13

    You’re just old and not hip & happening to the modern slang of today. Sorry to be the one to tell you.

  • Sam Chiu

    Ah ha ha ha… you are right, I am old and not so hip. Me and hip in the same sentence gives me goosebumps! LOL but still, I disagree with the use of “AF” in this context specially by Gary in his own blog. One don’t need to F this and F that to be “hip” Something like …. “as fast as a raging snail in heat” would have been a more interesting read. 🙂

  • johnnygoodface

    cute! I should have guess

  • Cornfed710

    So the app update today mentions mobile ordering, I can’t seem to find it in the app

  • Dhubert

    Same here!