McDonald’s Lost 500 Million Customers. Here’s How They Plan to Win Them Back


When was the last time you went to McDonald’s?

Personally, I have not been back to the chain for a good eight years. As it turns out, I’m not alone. Since 2012, the restaurant giant lost 500 million customer transactions to competitors, changing consumer habits, and a boatload of other reasons. While the company’s stock ($MCD) is up 28.99% in the last five years and paid significant dividends in that time period, their sales aren’t what they used to be.

The company, however, isn’t planning on willing new customers into existence. Earlier today, McDonald’s halted trading of their stock before releasing a brand new plan to get their customers back. While one can and should remain skeptical about getting half a billion in return customers, their plan could bring the franchise into the future…and it just might turn things around.

McDonald’s lost 500 million customer transactions in the last five years.

Chains like Five Guys and Shake Shack ($SHAK) have been eating McDonald’s lunch, as they offer better-quality burgers for around the same price (or more). Other quick service restaurants (or QSRs) offer more variety, healthier options, and fresher ingredients for roughly the same price. Customers have shown that they want quick service, healthy options, and less frozen food with preservatives. Unfortunately, preservatives and frozen, pre-made items is McDonald’s whole shtick.

McDonald’s has big plans to win those customers back, starting with mobile ordering and delivery.

McDonald’s 14,000+ U.S. locations will receive mobile ordering by this fall. This means that instead of talking to a cashier, you can whip out your phone, press a few buttons, and be on your way to a McDonald’s meal in a bit less time than it took you to order. McDonald’s will also offer delivery at some locations, just in case you don’t actually want to visit a McDonald’s restaurant. Burger King and other fast food chains have offered delivery in cities and some suburban locations for a bit.

McDonald’s also plans on deploying self-service kiosks in more of their locations.

These kiosks will let customers personalize their orders via touchscreen devices. Customers’ meals will then be brought directly to their tables after ordering. The company calls this part of their “Experience of the Future” concepts, which also sees hundreds of restaurants remodeling to look more modern and palatable than your average McDonald’s location. The kiosks will also save on labor costs.

Should you invest in McDonald’s? In addition to these exciting new developments, the company will pay more dividends over the next few years, something shareholders are excited about. In fact, after McDonald’s plan for the future, the company’s stock rose by over 1.2% for the day. This shows that shareholders are big on the company’s future plans.

If you think McDonald’s mobile orders and kiosks will bring more people in, or think that McDonald’s will continue to be one of the biggest restaurant chains in the world, then you might want to do your research before you invest. If you don’t think these changes can save the company’s dwindling customer base, consider investing in their competitors. After all, if companies like Chipotle, Panera, and others are taking a bite out of McDonald’s sales, they must be doing something right.