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Report: McDonald's trialing mobile ordering, payments system

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Fast-food giant McDonald's is trialing a new mobile ordering and payment application at selected locations in the Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas markets, Bloomberg reports.

The McDonald's app enables customers to order and pay for their meal via mobile phone, then pick their food in stores, curbside or at drive-thru windows, according to notes from a June meeting of McDonald's franchisees and executives obtained by Bloomberg. The mobile effort will also include promotions, offers and a loyalty program.

"While many competitors are publicizing their efforts to get an initial foothold in the mobile arena, no one has developed a comprehensive solution that integrates all the opportunities this technology presents," the meeting notes state.

A McDonald's spokesperson confirmed the trial. "We're always looking at new technologies to make the McDonald's experience better for our customers," McDonald's said. "We are testing some of these technologies in a few markets, so it's premature to speculate on the decisions we may make after the tests, but we're excited to bring a cutting-edge experience in the future to our customers."

McDonald's did not reveal specifics on which mobile platforms the app targets or how the company processes in-app payments. A year ago McDonald's locations in France began trialing PayPal mobile wallet services enabling consumers to place and pay for orders via dedicated smartphone app or the mobile Web; it is unclear whether the current U.S. trial is an extension of that initiative or signals an entirely different approach.

McDonald's already supports restaurant finder and nutrition information apps for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android. It also offers free Wi-Fi to help drive consumers to its 14,100 U.S. locations. McDonald's, which boasts close to 35,000 locations worldwide, generates about one-third of total revenues from its domestic stores.

For more:
- read this Bloomberg article

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