Liquid Barcodes


McDonald’s 3D’s to Drive Growth

Paula Thomas, Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes


McDonald’s 3D’s: Digital, Delivery and Drive Thru have been revealed as the global priorities for the world’s leading global food service retailer, McDonald’s. Against the backdrop of the global pandemic, Chief Executive Officer Chris Kempczinskidescribed 2020 as some of “the most challenging, yet inspiring, moments in our long history.” 

The firm’s financial performance was surprisingly stable, with U.S. comparable sales for 2020 at 0.4% for the year, and we are watching industry news closely the following confirmation that McDonald’s is “quietly working on its first-ever food loyalty program” for the US market. 

Before we discuss what we know so far about the launch of its loyalty program, I’d like to showcase a superb concept it launched in the US market last year. It featured “celebrity meals” with the endorsement of McDonald’s meals by music and social media icons such as  Travis Scott – the American Rapper. This campaign was apparently first inspired by seeing a social media post by Scott enjoying a McDonald’s meal and became a powerful way for the brand to target Gen Z consumers as shown in the video below. 

This campaign was “so successful that some locations ran out of Quarter Pounder ingredients“, adding an element of exclusivity and stardust to specific McDonald’s meals through the use of these celebrities and true influencers. 

Travis Scott apparently made about $20 million  through the partnership too, a combination of his media fee and a clever line of McDonald’s-themed merchandise! 

So, without even needing to promote or create new menu items, McDonald’s succeeded in creating a sense of urgency to order, harnessing the power of the extraordinary social media audiences and influence of Scott and other celebrities to help them reach their target customers. 

While this approach is clearly not part of the McDonald’s 3D’s approach outlined above, it’s certainly a powerful marketing strategy that was perfectly timed to inspire nervous customers to order again from this leading fast food brand. 

The campaign creative for Celebrity Travis Scott Sharing His Favourite McDonald’s Meal 

The “Growth Engine” 

Celebrity campaigns aside, “MyMcDonald’s” is being billed as the new “growth engine” for the business, promising customers “speed, rewards and deals” and a seamless digital experience that will drive the company’s connection to its  65 million daily customers. 

While McDonald’s has had a loyalty program for its McCafé products in the US for several years, a program across its entire food menu is only now launching in 2021, despite rumours for  many years, with confirmation that MyMcDonald’s will launch in their  top six global markets in 2021. 

Those markets are the U.S., U.K, Canada, Australia, Germany and France, with  digital  sales  expected to exceed $10 billion, or nearly 20 per cent of system-wide sales, this year. 

As you can see from the ad below, speed of delivery, personalisation, savings and rewards are listed as the benefits to users – all available “faster” with the MyMcDonald’s app. 

Better Late Than Never 

With the US team focusing on driving app downloads, it is also entering the next phase of testing for its full menu loyalty program. It has acknowledged it’s late to be launching its loyalty program, but our view, of course, is that it’s great that this is finally coming to fruition, so better late than never. 

The latest program information published by CNBC confirms that about 900 locations out of McDonald’s 14,000 U.S. restaurants are now part of the test.

The proposition apparently includes: 

  • Customers earn points for every dollar they spend. 
  • McDonald’s workers can earn points for completing training related to the program. 
  • Members earn 100 points for every dollar and have the opportunity to earn even more points with targeted promotions, like double points for visiting on a Monday. 
  • The program is split into four tiers — 1,500, 3,000, 4,500 and 6,000 points for different redemption opportunities across sixteen menu items. 
  • Members can currently earn rewards for cash and mobile orders, and this will be extended for customers using credit or debit cards when the program launches nationwide. 

Given the franchise model favoured by McDonald’s, the loyalty proposition is being overseen by a committee of owners/operators so we’ll be excited to review the final proposition when it finally launches nationwide and across those top six global markets. 

As we wait for further insights, we also liked the loyalty work being done by McDonald’s in Canada as they also prepare to launch the global program later this year. 

McDonald’s Canada Leverages Loyalty 

A simple yet dramatic enhancement was launched in the summer of 2020 for McDonald’s loyal customers in Canada. Historically limited to McCafé purchases and rewards, the brand re-branded its app-based program and extended it to include fries for the first time. As with the current coffee program, customer receives one free order of fries after every seven purchases – including those bought as part of a meal deal. 

This “clear, consistent and compelling” proposition is exactly the kind of “best practice” loyalty that drives consumer behaviour – particularly at this extra-ordinary time, and no doubt the further upgrade to the full “MyMcDonald’s” program will delight Canadian customers and others when they launch later this year. 


Finally, another fun campaign from McDonald’s Canada is their “Free Fries” campaign, available to customers IF the Toronto Raptors (the Canadian professional basketball team based in Toronto) score big – with 12 three-pointers. Perhaps some added pressure for the team, but certainly a way to leverage customers’ passion for the team and find ways to reward Canadian customers at the same time. If nothing else, the  free publicity  ahead of the game makes the potential cost worthwhile! 

Mac Donalds

About Us:

Liquid Barcodes is a leading global loyalty and digital marketing technology company specialising in the convenience store and food service industries. Our proprietary cloud-based technology platform allow retailers to create and manage their digital marketing campaigns with a proprietary process we call the “customer connection cycle’ to engage, promote and reward customers’ activities in real time across digital and media channels.

How we do it:

We have developed the most advanced loyalty and digital marketing technology platform specifically for convenience stores and food service retailers globally.

Retailers use our self-service dashboard to create and manage loyalty-driven marketing campaigns that increase purchases with their existing customers, as well as effectively target and acquire new customers through partners or paid media channels.

One core component of live loyalty is gamification. We have gamified branding, loyalty and promotions. We believe this approach is essential in order to get customers’ attention and ultimately truly engage them with repeatable actions thereby winning their loyalty.

Check out some of our exciting/proven results here:

About Me:

Paula Thomas

Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes and Host of “Let’s Talk Loyalty” Podcast

With over twenty-five years marketing experience, I specialise in loyalty marketing content. In addition to working with Liquid Barcodes, my consulting clients have included Telefonica O2 Priority, Three Mobile, Electric Ireland, Allied Irish Bank and The Entertainer Group (UAE), as well as Avios – the global points currency for some of the world’s top airlines. I am also a former judge for the Loyalty Magazine Awards and proud host of the “Let’s Talk Loyalty” podcast – the industry’s first podcast for loyalty marketing professionals.



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Put a rocket under your loyalty program

With our loyalty platform, we help design and operate world-class, tailor-made subscription and reward programs that make sure your customers always come back.

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We are trusted by global brands.

Convenience retailers all over the world have engaged and rewarded consumers with our tailor-made loyalty programs.

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Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes

Convenience retailers all over the world have engaged and rewarded consumers with our tailor-made loyalty programs.

To our case studies →

Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes
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