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McDonald’s to Implement Loyalty Program by 2017?

After a difficult first half of 2015, followed by a resurgent second half, 2016 has executives at McDonald’s brimming with confidence as they eye a new loyalty program to via its smartphone app by the start of next year.

According to various published reports, McDonald’s USA President Mike Andres discussed the loyalty program at the UBS Global Consumer Conference last week. While plans for the new McDonald’s loyalty program are in their infancy, it appears that it would be based on the number of visits customers make to McDonald’s each month.

What’s more, the program would track customer purchases and learn their menu preferences, Andres noted at the conference.

“That’s the future of customer relationship management,” Andres said at the conference. “We think it can be a significant sales layer for us.”

Since Starbucks announced changes to its loyalty program on Feb. 22−the My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program will now be based on how much money customers spend rather than number of visits−most of the prominent social media comments have been from unhappy patrons.

But not everyone believes Starbucks made a mistake by changing its loyalty program structure.
In January, McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook said he was excited about the company’s progress, evidenced by his comments during the company’s fiscal fourth-quarter conference call.

“We begin 2016 in a much better place than we were 12 months ago,” Easterbrook said, according to Seeking Alpha. “Today, we are more aligned to the system, franchisee cash flows, our major markets are improving, and we have a strong commitment to executing our turnaround plan.”

Easterbrook noted the foundational steps taken to enhance menu quality, simplify restaurant operations, and offer even more convenience to customers−factors that “led to a palpable shift in momentum in the third quarter. All Day Breakfast fills on this momentum in the fourth quarter, exceeding internal expectations during the launch phase. It’s driving incremental business. Many customers who otherwise would have gone elsewhere are coming to McDonald’s to enjoy some of their favorite breakfast items like our Egg McMuffin and Hash Browns at lunch and throughout the rest of the day.”

At the same time, existing customers are adding breakfast entrees to their regular orders, boosting sales and average check.

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