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How Geofencing Is Helping Restaurants Like McDonalds, Chick-fil-A Track Customers And Cut Wait Time

The joints are working on enabling a feature that will tell their kitchen when customers are close to the restaurant so that they can start redying the order.
UPDATED JAN 22, 2024
Cover Image Source: (L) Pexels | Dids | (R) Pexels | Jace Miller
Cover Image Source: (L) Pexels | Dids | (R) Pexels | Jace Miller

McDonald's and Chick-fil-A will serve meals hotter and faster, all thanks to their new app features. The services will be exclusive to mobile app users. These chains are focusing on improving their mobile-order experience with geofencing technology that will help track customers' locations and leave notifications to the staff when they are in proximity. 

According to FOXBusiness, Chick-fil-A said that they are focusing on making new improvements to the Chick-fil-A App's location services, enabling a feature that will tell their kitchen when customers are close to the restaurant so that they can start redying the order. The chain will also let users see how long their order will take if it is placed for carryout curbside or dine-in. 

What Is Geofencing Technology?

Geofencing works with the help of GPS technology to set up a digital perimeter around a location. When any device such as a mobile phone or a tablet enters the set domain, it will trigger an alert notifying the staff of its location. 

"Using existing location data, it allows our crew to start assembling a customer’s order prior to their arrival at the restaurant, ultimately delivering hot, fresh food when customers arrive to pick up their order," CFO Ian Borden said at McDonald's Q1 2023 earnings call last month.

How Is Technology and AI Changing The Fast Food Industry?

There is no denying the fact that the pandemic accelerated the adoption of technology. Now restaurants are trying to leverage the power of technology and exploring AI to enhance customer experience. Here are some ways in which AI and technology help the food service sector. 

AI taking orders

Apart from geofencing, there are many technologies that these chains are adopting. According to Forbes, Checkers and Rally's has started their initial testing in which AI is taking orders. The results of the test were satisfying with guests experiencing a consistent customer journey with a pleasant voice all the time.Their AI has also adapted to certain business tactics like upselling and is actually recommending items to the customers, like "Would you like fries?" or "Can I add bacon to that?" 

Workers Now Have Assistance

The technologies are making life a tad bit easier for those working at fast food joints. The chefs have tools that help them improve the quality of the food being made. Technology also helps them ensure that perishable food is maintained at safe temperatures and workers are notified if anything goes wrong.

Automated Help for The Management

It's the era of metrics! Shift managers are provided a helping hand through this service software. These can help expedite the business and make sure that every process under every vertical of the company is running smoothly.

AI-Designed Fast Food Menus

Pexels | Caroline Cagnin
Pexels | Caroline Cagnin

According to, Shake Shack added dairy-free, plant-free desserts to their menu that was developed by an AI algorithm named "Giuseppe." In this particular case, the AI analyzed the animal-based dairy on a molecular level and found a plant-based replica. The result: a non-dairy chocolate shake and a plant-based chocolate frozen custard.

According to the same publication, McDonald's is also experimenting with AI and its use cases. However, many users were quick to point out on social media platforms like TikTok that the AI-backed ordering system in the drive-through was filled with bot blunders. 

According to one user on TikTok, the AI mistakenly added a Diet Coke to an order of hash brown, a sweet tea, and a Coke, which is a loss to the restaurant.