McDonald's testing its MyMcDonald's Rewards program in parts of the United States.
Dining And Entertainment

Can I Have Rewards With That?

Photo by Thabang Mokoena on Unsplash

How MyMcdonald’s Rewards Is Serving Up Loyalty

There are lots of reasons why the new loyalty program from the lord of the Big Mac is a big deal. But perhaps the most important reason of all: it finally exists. It may come as a surprise that in the US, McDonald’s has never really established an end-to-end loyalty solution for the benefit of its millions of customers. Sure, they’ve executed some foundational tactics and one-off promotions that have summoned the appetites of some serious aficionados. Who can forget the Ribwich, the fabled feast glazed to savory perfection sandwiched not only between two buns, but months – and sometimes years – of regional distribution. And perennial favorites such as Monopoly has excited legions of fans since its first introduction as a US marketing promotion in 1987.

The Bread: Valuable Rewards Structure

Keeping it simple is the recipe for success when it comes to loyalty architectures that resonate, a philosophy which McDonald’s has embraced. The base strategy: MyMcDonald’s Rewards members earn 100 points for every dollar that they spend. Straightforward enough, with a fundamental rewards valuation that implies bang for your buck. The program is split into four tiers — 1,500, 3,000, 4,500 and 6,000 points — for different redemption opportunities across 16 menu items. But rigidity is not on the menu here, and the structure remains open to personalized offers and targeted promotions: special occasions and days of the week have the opportunity to earn double the points for patrons. Right now, the rewards themselves come in the form of qualifying menu items, but one could expect a sweeping diversity of prizes and experiences as the program matures.

The Meat: Omni-Channel Experiences

McDonald’s is no stranger to creating streamlined digital interactions for its customers. It was one of the first fast food giants to trial digital screens inside brick-and-mortar stores, enabling an enhanced ordering process. The brand also bridges physical with digital spaces through its app and online ordering processes. MyMcDonald’s Rewards commits to this proactive digital position by connecting digital ecosystems, making it easier for customers to order food. And some more good news for digital mavericks: a multi-tender payment system appears to be at the program’s epicentre, with members able to leverage both cash and mobile ordering through the app, as well as credit and debit cards once the scheme launches nationwide.

The Cheese: Overarching Employee Engagement

Sometimes, even the best and brightest in the industry aren’t immune from making a fundamental miscalculation: that loyalty is all about the customer. How could it be, when there are so many other stakeholders crucial for a brand’s survival? Luckily, MyMcDonald’s Rewards successfully attends to an internal locus with an employee-centric component that rewards loyal workers. These members can rack up their own points and rewards by completing training related to the program.

This will be one of the most interesting components of the program that we will continue to watch. If McDonald’s can create real value for their employees, it will set the example that others must follow.


The Toppings: Targeted Personalization for MyMcDonald’s Rewards Members

At this point you may be wondering: what else can complete the picture? So far, many of the aforementioned features are simply tactical infrastructure to support the program’s functioning. Luckily, MyMcDonald’s Rewards realizes that a great loyalty platform is merely a vehicle for deeper communication. The program plans to undertake concerted custom messaging to facilitate two-way conversations between brand and customer. For example, McDonald’s workers will greet loyalty members by name as they move through the drive-thru lane, and customers will get a personalized email after they pick up their orders that includes upcoming deals tailored to them.

What’s For Dessert?

It will be even more interesting to see the specific reaction from loyal fans of the seemingly everlasting brand. Performance has already been unprecedented for the restaurant, as it expected to exceed $10 billion in digital sales, or nearly 20% of systemwide sales, across its top six markets as of late 2020.

Right now, this is all still in the testing phase of development. As of now, roughly 900 locations out McDonald’s 14,000 US restaurants are part of the test. Much of the platform makes use of investments made prior to the pandemic. It’s interesting to see the timing of this launch correlate with these turbulent times, but if McDonald’s can carve out customer loyalty now, then they will have the advantage of momentum as things return to normal — and Burger King is not far behind.

Can I Have Rewards With That?
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