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McDonald’s Turns to Technology, Sriracha to Spur Sales Growth

We’ve kept a close eye on McDonald’s in the Food Institute Blog since CEO Steve Easterbrook took the helm. Under his leadership, the company has made a number of successful changes to the company, including the McPick2 deals, All-Day Breakfast, healthier ingredients and an effort to refocus the customer experience within its stores. However, it doesn’t look like the fast food giant is slowing down any time soon.

McDonald’s plans to continue investing heavily in digital endeavors, technology and the customer experience during the next two years, according to executive vice president of operations and technology systems Jim Sappington. Sappington noted the company will focus on enhancing the overall in-store experience in its 10 largest markets. According to Sappington, executive vice-president of operations and technology systems:

“Enhancing the overall experience is a critical part of us growing our business … If we’re more convenient, our customers are going to be more willing to come to McDonald’s.”

Starbucks Corp., Dunkin’ Donuts and Taco Bell have all proven that investments in technology can lead to sales growth, and McDonald’s seems to be following suit. Although they are a bit behind the curve at this point, mobile apps and in-store technology will likely lock in customers and push up sales growth for the company.

McDonald’s isn’t betting its future only on technology. Although the company simplified its menu over the past few years, it is looking for new items to pique consumer interest. On that front, McDonald’s is testing a Sriracha Big Mac in 126 stores in central Ohio. The Sriracha-infused sauce isn’t limited to this Big Mac, either: it will offer it as a dipping sauce a la carte for French fries and Chicken McNuggets. Wendy’s already introduced a similar sauce and seems to be doing well with this menu addition, and it seems McDonald’s would like to leverage the popularity of the favorite spicy sauce. McDonald’s Chef Mike Haracz said:

“We’re always trying new creations, and we wanted to innovate with an on-trend flavor like Sriracha to give our customers in Columbus a new and exciting taste.”

It’s unclear whether the new products will become a nationwide addition to its menus, but it is clear that McDonald’s plans to try new things to reinvigorate its brand with consumers.