Can The Fast Food Industry Keep Up With Digital?

HOT JOE sits down with the Managing Director of McDonald’s Philippines Margot Torres as she talks about fearlessly pushing for cashless transactions, offering Filipinos a more convenient way of paying for their favorite meals.

In 1981, George T. Yang opened the country’s first McDonald’s store in Morayta, right in the heart of Manila. Today, the store still stands as a nostalgic point of reference—a reminder of how the quick service restaurant chain has come a long way from a single branch in a little corner in the city into a multi-billion peso company. In 2005, McDonald’s Philippines became a wholly-owned Filipino company under the Golden Arches Development Corporation (GADC). Now, there are close to 600 McDonald’s stores, with most offering convenience channels, such as Drive-Thru and McDelivery service.

Early this year, McDonald’s Philippines became one of the early adopters of cashless payments, allowing customers to pay for their orders using their MasterCard, VISA, or their mobile phones via QR codes, in collaboration with PayMaya Philippines in selected stores nationwide.

HOT JOE sits down with the Managing Director of McDonald’s Philippines, Margot Torres, as she dissects the future of the company, and how their partnership with PLDT and PayMaya has helped support the company’s digital transformation journey.

HJ: What’s special about the relationship between PLDT and GADC?

MT: PLDT has been a long-time partner of McDonald’s here in the Philippines. They provide the infrastructure, and streamline our connectivity in all our stores nationwide. They are a very critical component of our McDelivery service, which is how our customers order from us through our call centers via 86-2-36, our website, and the McDo PH app. All that data is processed with the help of the infrastructure that PLDT provides.

HJ: GADC has come a long way since. How has your digital transformation journey been like?

MT: Our digital journey started seven years ago when our customers were starting to embrace social media and digital channels. I’d like to believe that since then, we’ve successfully cracked our Owned E-commerce and social media channels and have had a lot of success in Digital Marketing. Customer experience is at the heart of everything we do at McDonald’s, so we want to make sure that we provide a frictionless experience for them. PayMaya is helping us enable a convenient way for our customers to complete an “anytime, anywhere” purchase!

“Digital transformation is not a future reality but is something that is happening now, so it’s important that we bank on technology.”

HJ: What other types of technology will you adapt in the future?

MT: We believe that our customers are really changing in terms of their lifestyle and we wanted to adapt to their evolving needs. Digital transformation is not a future reality but is something that is happening now, so it’s important that we bank on technology. Enabling a cashless ecosystem and mobile payments are just some of the innovations that we at McDonald’s can introduce to our customers to make their experience more convenient.

HJ: What are the fears that your company has faced, and how have you as a group overcome those fears?

MT: I think everybody has a fear of change. Everyone is afraid of making mistakes and becoming irrelevant.

Overcoming those fears is difficult, but it helps to choose the right partners in setting your Digital transformation. We at McDonald’s are experts at providing our customers with excellent service, and a quality dining experience, but at the same time, we know it’s important that we collaborate with a technology expert, such as PLDT, to effectively adapt to the needs of our customers.

This kind of partnership helps alleviate our fears of being irrelevant to our customers and ensures we will be at the forefront of innovation. We know that we’ll always be able to offer the best customer experience to Filipinos who want to enjoy our meals wherever they want, be it in our stores or from their homes.