Burger giant McDonald's sees mobile apps as a big part of its future, but it would rather you signed up for them using your phone number than via a social network or dedicated account.
Speaking at the TwitterFlight mobile development conference in San Francisco this week, McDonald's chief digital officer Atif Rafiq explained that McDonald's sees apps as a crucial tool to maintaining market share in the highly competitive fast-food market. (McDonald's own recent results haven't been too impressive.)
"McDonald's is in a really interesting place in its journey, and we're looking to redefine how we engage with customers, using digital enablement as a key piece of our strategy," Rafiq said. "Yes, McDonald's does have developers and they do write code."
One element McDonald's plans to use is Twitter's newly announced Digits platform, which lets customers sign up for apps using their mobile phone number and a texted passcode rather than requiring a unique sign-in.
McDonald's has tested out Digits in an alarm clock app which it has launched in Singapore. That app wakes up customers and gives them an offer coupon to entice them to visit McDonald's. They can also share the offer with friends via a text message, and those friends can also sign up using their phone number. Rafiq said McDonald's saw customers as more likely to share via this method than if they were required to sign up for the app, with the associated hassle of creating and remembering a password. "It allows for a very lightweight account relationship with McDonald's," he said.
Disclosure: Angus Kidman travlled to San Francisco as a guest of Twitter.