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Fries delivery problem solved? McDonald's says satisfaction rates are good using Uber

Chicken McNuggets and small order of french fries at a McDonald's restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona, on Oct. 21, 2017. CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Caitlin O'Hara.
Chicken McNuggets and small order of french fries at a McDonald's restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona, on Oct. 21, 2017. CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Caitlin O'Hara.

McDonald’s, which is counting on a new delivery service to fuel growth, thinks it’s solved the industry’s dreaded french-fry problem.

Fries are notorious for not traveling well — often arriving at the other end in a mushy, cold and unappetizing state. But the food has become McDonald’s No. 1 delivery item since the company began offering the service through Uber Technologies’s UberEats.

And satisfaction rates are high, said Lucy Brady, the chain’s senior vice president and global chief strategy officer.

To ensure that fries can weather the journey, employees take pains to make certain they’re as hot and fresh as possible before being added to bags, she said. And they’re typically delivered within 30 minutes, helping prevent them from wilting en route, Brady said.

“The first thing everyone was concerned about is, will the fries be hot and fresh?” she said.

The stakes are high for McDonald’s to get it right. The company sees restaurant delivery as a $100 billion market that could help maintain growth in the United States.

McDonald’s has expanded its delivery service to more than 5,000 U.S. locations after a small test in Florida last year. Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook, who took the helm in 2015, also is looking to a new mobile app to help keep customers loyal.

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The company said delivery customers are more likely to order McDonald’s for dinner. About 60 percent of delivery is 4 p.m. or later — higher than in its restaurants.

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