Chick-Fil-A And McDonald's Are Tracking You For The Benefit Of Fresh Fries

If you've ever ordered online from a fast-food restaurant, then you might know the disappointing feeling of picking up your food and finding it lukewarm, especially the french fries. Soggy fries are the worst for a lot of people, but a couple of fast-food chains are working to make sure online orders are made fresh right when you arrive.

McDonald's and Chick-fil-A are unveiling new features on their apps, tracking folks' locations to make sure orders are freshly prepared, according to Business Insider. Employees will start putting together orders placed online once customers draw near the pickup point. "By timing a customer's arrival with their order, we can ensure they're getting a meal that is both fresh and served quickly," Morgan Anderer, a senior project lead, said on behalf of Chick-fil-A.

Already, Chick-fil-A has tested this tracking feature at 100 sites throughout the U.S. and will officially implement the service in the first half of summer 2023. Meanwhile, McDonald's introduced its tracking feature back in March, as Restaurant Business reported.

How it works

This new feature may lead to more fresh and crispy fries, but how exactly does it work? Chick-fil-A and McDonald's are utilizing geofencing technology, which employs GPS "to create a virtual fence around a location," according to Business Insider.

In order to give employees enough time to put things together, McDonald's alerts its staff when the order-placer is three minutes away. Chick-fil-A did not share a specific time-threshold, but it did state employees will begin working on the food once customers are close to the building.

Chick-fil-A claims the tracking feature will cut down wait-times for consumers. In fact, delays were reduced between one to two minutes for diners using this tracking feature during tests. Additionally, according to Chick-fil-A, approximated wait-times were correctly projected over nine out of every ten times.

This new service comes as the fast-food industry is experiencing growth in online ordering among consumers. In particular, Business Insider noted, McDonald's digital sales — which includes online orders — accounted for 40% of its sales in 2023's first quarter.