Jun 19, 2021

McDonald's Canada App Review: What McDonald's Missed

With Canadian fast-food chains moving their offers and coupons into mobile apps, what are these fast-food companies missing? We've taken on the McDonald's Canada mobile app and tested their mobile coupons. See our honest review about the McDo Canada app below. Plus, we got a hack for you if you eat at McDonald's and use their app for savings.

First, we don't agree with McDonald's approach to move their online coupons to their mobile app. Why that? Limiting the choice of where to get McDonald's coupons in Canada means that certain consumers may be left out. Customers that are slow adopters of technology may have trouble downloading the app, creating an account, and trying to order via the app. 

McDonald's and the other fast-food chains seem to focus more on the younger crowd that are digital natives. 

Second, the mobile app may be a new point of friction for the client at the restaurant. Ordering in the app and picking the order up is actually great. But trying to use in-app offers and coupons at the McDonald's restaurant may be a hassle (read on to find out why).

After such an intro, let's dive into the review of the McDonald's Canada app (as of 2021). The app is available here: iOS and Android.

What is the mobile app for?

For brands like McDonald's an app installed on thousands of smartphones is a great tool to communicate with the customer. The app serves to inform about the menu, push new offers, and process online orders. So the app becomes a strong marketing tool. Plus, it's convenient for McDonald's goers. 

For the app to be fully functional and useful, customers are invited to sign up and stay signed in. For McDonald's this is tons of real-time data about what's getting looked at, used as offers, and ordered.

McDonald's Coupons in the App

McDonald's has moved their coupons into the Offers section of the app. To access the offers a customer needs to sign in. 

By managing all offers in the app, McDonald's is able to make the offers more flexible and more dynamic. Some offers are very short-lived and expire fast. Some other offers stay in the app for much longer.

For example, the 50% off offer on your next Big Mac is only valid for 7 days, whereas the free coffee offer after you drink 7 coffees is there for the whole year.

How to Access McDonald's Coupons in the App

The McDonald's Canada app has several sections. Offers is the one where you have all the savings available to you. Yes, the offers are tied up to your previous orders and previous usage of the coupons

You can access the offers sections by either clicking on the offers in the deals and offers carouse when you open the app.

Alternatively, you can get to the Offers by clicking on Offers at the bottom of your screen.

How to Use McDonald's In-App Coupons

The coupons that are available to you have a monetary value. You can also have access to free offers.

For example, in June-July 2021 you get a free pie when you buy a sandwich like a Big Mac or a McChicken.

When you click through the Offers in the McDonald's app, you will get to the list of all the coupons and deals. 

When you pick the coupon to use, click through it and you have a choice about whether to use the coupon in an online order or scan it at the restaurant. 

Using the coupon in the online order would mean that the promo code will be applied to the product in the cart.

Using the coupon at the restaurant means that you will need to open the offer as a bar code and show it to the cashier. The cashier will scan it and apply it to the in-person order.

After you have used the offer, the offer will grey out and will eventually disappear from the list of offers in the app.

The McDonald's app includes a bunch of promotions and coupons that can help you save a couple of dollars here and there.

Major Inconvenience with the McDonald's App

The offers available in the McDonald's app were conceive for situations when one person want to have a bite. The savings are not as great if you eat with your family or friends and you want to save a little.

The offers in the app have the major drawback. You can only use one coupon in one transaction. In other words, if you order several things for which you have coupons in the app, you can only use one coupon in that transactions (not them all!). 

McDonald's points of order (restaurants) are not able to take more coupons within the same transactions. What a shame!

What's the workaround? With some patience and perseverance you can make multiple coupons work if you order in person for your family or friends. Just order everything as separate transactions. You will end up with something like this, but you will save over $10!

The McDonald's employee will probably be mad at $1.15 transactions like ours, but you as a customer are in the right here.

Bottom line: The McDonald's Canada app is a convenient tool to get savings and order online if you are comfortable with in-app orders. It's also a good way to save several dollars if you order for yourself only.

But the app can be a source of friction as you can only use 1 in-app coupon per transaction. By separating your order into several transactions you can use more coupons within the same visit to McDo.

To us, the one-coupon-per-transaction is a major inconvenience. Oh yes, don't expect McDo employees to know about this limitation with in-app coupons. 

In our case, the employee took the order, made us scan all the coupons we wanted, to only say it was not working. 3 employees later (and our order completely messed up), the shift manager explained the one-coupon-per-transaction policy to which we said "make them all separate transactions and apply all the coupons." Technology, right? Humans will always find a way around it in the same way as humans can mess it up big time.