McDonald’s expert explains why you might not want to get hooked on its app

@chefmikeharacz/TikTok FellowNeko/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘They can entice you to come back more and more’: McDonald’s expert explains why you might not want to get hooked on its app

'They are no longer aiming for consumer value.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Apr 13, 2024   Updated on Apr 15, 2024, 11:27 am CDT

Former McDonald’s corporate Chef Mike Haracz (@chefmikeharacz) has been giving the inside scoop into the Golden Arches on TikTok. He covers a variety of McTopics ranging from stories about the hashbrown sandwiches that never became an official menu option, to how folks can maximize their chances of getting an employee to make you a McBrunch Breakfast Burger.

Now, Haracz is dishing out the skinny on the omnipresent fast-food chain’s mobile app and how getting used to using it for deals might become a long-term problem for some.

He responded to one TikTok user’s comment regarding the app, which stated, “As of April 1 have u noticed the McD APP no longer has good ‘deals’ all the BOGOs are gone. U WERE RIGHT, THEY ARE NO LONGER AIMING 4 CONSUMER VALUE.”

It seems the TikTok user is directly referring to the gripes many McDonald’s customers have had over the years—the rate of fast food inflation, including Mickey D’s which was once seen as budget-conscious, is actually higher than the overall rate of inflation.

Haracz himself also previously said that McDonald’s is no longer aiming its food at lower-income consumers. The chain’s CEO even responded to concerns from guests about its prices, stating that the primary focus of the fast-food establishment and its locations would be on affordability throughout 2024.

Judging from the comments about the lack of deals on McDonald’s mobile app, a tool that many argued was a way for fans of the “OG Dollar Menu” to enjoy those low prices again, it would seem that those deals are going the way of the Snack Wrap.

@chefmikeharacz Replying to @la.spike Former #McDonalds corporate chef talks about their app. #McdonaldsLife #McDonaldsTikTok #mcdonaldssecrets #McDonaldsSecret #fastfood #FastFoodSecrets #FastFoodTikTok #fastfoodlife #mcdonaldshacks #mcdonaldsccsing #ronaldmcdonald #mcdonaldssecrets #fypシ ♬ original sound – Chef Mike Haracz

Haracz highlights several problems he has with the McDonald’s mobile application. The first, he says, is that forcing people to install it on their smartphone is a form of “gatekeeping,” as consumers who aren’t tech savvy are kept from these deals.

His other issue with the application? It helps foster habitual purchases at Mickey D’s by gamifying the ordering experience—he says folks who use apps for the restaurants they frequent will more than likely return time and again to that same business.

“They now have information they can entice you, to come back more and more,” he says. “Once you have an app, the statistical probability that you will come back for an additional visit a week is drastically increased. So although you may be saving money on that first order, they are also enticing you to come back an extra visit a week, a month, whatever it is, and they make up that loss in net penny profit, doing that.”

The next reason why the McDonald’s app is kinda grimy, Haracz contends, is that McDonald’s can control the items that they place deals on. This means they can not only give discounts on higher-margin profit items, but the restaurant can minimize its “operational complexity” as a result of offering deals on said menu items.

It’s much easier for a restaurant to churn out, let’s say 500 McChickens in one day than an assortment of other burgers and sandwiches. So if McDonald’s is controlling the deals on its app, it can help better manage its supply of some items.

“So in the kitchen, they’re just making the same three or four items over and over again,” he says. “The other big fun thing is that they can strategically market things that are more profitable for them. So instead of deals on a double quarter pounder with cheese…they are specifically setting it up so that they make the most money off of you.”

Haracz ends his video to see that all of these factors are what ultimately prevent him from using the app. He would much rather have the chain’s Value Menu back, as he can choose what he wants to eat and his selections aren’t dictated by whether or not there’s a promotion going on.

“That is why they want you to use the app, that’s why now you’re hooked, and that’s why I don’t use the app but everyone just wants the value menu back because I want to choose the value items I don’t want you to tell me what I want,” he says at the end of his clip.

Several others echoed Haracz’s sentiments concerning the McDonald’s app. One person stated that attempting to use it was ultimately a frustrating experience: “The app frustrates me. I can only use deals or points. Not both. Also only one point item at a time. I have so many points.”

Someone else said there’s one feature they use on the app that they find useful: “I use 20% off whole purchase on the App every time I go there.”

But other folks state that the Buy One Get One Free offers are still valid in their area.

“NOT TRUE here in Massachusetts, BOGO still an option Big Mac, Quarter Pounder or Double Cheeseburger & the 6 piece nuggets, I had the BOGO Big Macs on Monday,” one wrote.

The Daily Dot has reached out to McDonald’s and Haracz via email for further comment.

Update 11:12am, Apr. 15, 2024:

In an email to the Daily Dot, Haracz said he is not sure whether the app deals are regional but they might be.

“Not only can the app be used to ease operational complexity, its main function is to capture your data, and use that for suggestive selling, optimally getting you to visit the restaurant more often,” he wrote. “They are willing to lose some net penny profit per order if you are going to visit McD an extra time a week or month, as well as taking market share away from the competition by bringing you in more often.”

He also clarified he cannot confirm if the data they store is shared in any way.

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*First Published: Apr 13, 2024, 3:00 pm CDT