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Apps, Video Games, And Wearables: A Vision For The Future Of McDonald’s

Soon, you could walk into a McDonald’s, sit down, maybe play a video game for a few minutes, then have your food brought to you.

At least that’s the vision of Atif Rafiq, the first chief digital officer at McDonald’s, for how the company’s stores could evolve by 2020. We caught up with Rafiq at South by Southwest—which McDonald’s has attended for the first time amid a two-year streak of disappointing sales—and he described how the company plans to leverage kiosks, smartphones, and wearable to change the way people order and eat at McDonald’s restaurants around the world. In the U.S., all experiences would work through an app in development that knows your identity and tracks your order history.

‘We see the experience being made so much better through technology,” Rafiq says. “It’s an environment where it’s really built around you as opposed to operations of a restaurant.

What does he mean? Today, when you go to a McDonald’s, you probably walk to the counter, order, wait by the counter for a while for it to be prepared, and then grab a tray or bag with your food. In some cases, McDonald’s has set up quick-order kiosks if you’d like to avoid the counter.

At the McDonald’s of tomorrow, restaurants will have a standardized set of hardware and software that the company has been developing through its global digital team. That hardware would include kiosks similar or identical to those already on the market. You could walk up, tap your phone to it, and sync your account via an app. From there, the screen would not just show a stock menu, but provide your order history, and offer Amazon-like recommendations.

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