- McDonald's has created a customer experience team, which will combine data analytics, digital customer engagement, global marketing and restaurant development and solutions to improve its diner engagement at both on-premise and digitally, according to a press release emailed to Restaurant Dive.
- Manu Steijaert, who has been with the company since 2001, will lead the team in the newly created position of EVP and global chief customer officer effective Aug. 1. He most recently served as VP of international operated markets. Steijaert will report directly to CEO Chris Kempczinski.
- This operational update follows the national launch of the chain's MyMcDonald's Rewards program on July 8. With both of these platforms now in place, McDonald's may be better positioned to cater to both on-premise and off-premise customer demands for dining experiences, which have evolved in the wake of the pandemic.
McDonald's has been investing heavily in digitally optimizing its restaurants and drive-thrus for some time now, and a dedicated customer experience team could help keep the chain laser-focused on the changing expectations of its online customers amid these innovations.
"The formation of the Customer Experience team strengthens McDonald's ability to lead the industry in anticipating and delivering on customer needs at every part of the Brand journey, which increasingly extends beyond the walls of the physical restaurant through digital, delivery and Drive Thru," Kempczinski said in a statement.
The company's focus on off-premise engagement includes plans to spend roughly $500 million on modernizing around 1,200 domestic restaurants to optimize drive-thru, delivery, curbside pickup and digital orders. McDonald's loyalty offerings extend to these touchpoints as well. Rewards members, for example, will be greeted by name as they pass through the drive-thru and will receive personalized promotions via email after they drive away with their meal. These tailored recommendations will also be available in-store at McDonald's kiosks, digital menu boards and on its mobile app.
These efforts seem to be paying off. McDonald's currently boasts more than 40 million active app users in its top six markets, which gives around 30,000 restaurants access to delivery.
"We have reached a pivotal moment when technology and data have begun to shape nearly every facet of the
customer experience," Steijaert said in a statement.
Several other restaurant chains have recently rolled out loyalty programs or loyalty tests of their own, including White Castle, Popeyes and Burger King, but of these, none have yet anchored these initiatives with their own customer experience team or dedicated executive lead. Panera, which launched MyPanera in 2010 and has seen the program balloon to 40 million members during the pandemic, hired a chief customer officer last fall.