McDonald’s is still learning how best to optimise delivery and is using technology to streamline the complexity of the sales channel, delivery director Daniel Smith told Hostech.

Smith said the UK & Ireland business had been impressed by the delivery demand the brand had seen since it launched five years ago, which he said had “boomed” in the last two years.

He acknowledged the huge demand was not without challenge, but described how McDonald’s was using tech to refine the experience for staff, couriers and customers.

Smith said one simple yet effective solution was to split the orders between delivery and drive thru, which had been a “massive help”.

The “holy grail” though, would be to time the order so the courier arrives at the exact same point as it is ready.

“If we get to that point, there’s huge benefits for the crew, huge benefits for the couriers and huge benefits for the customers as well,” he said.

Meanwhile, Smith discussed how restaurants were not originally designed with delivery in mind.

“We’ve added on this channel and grown this channel for restaurants that really aren’t configured to take any delivery sales at all,” he said.

“That then gives us an opportunity to really put delivery at the forefront and in the centre of our restaurants going forward.

“We’ve got some pilot sites already on how to do that, and we’re looking to do that over the next few years.”

While McDonald’s does not expect to see the same “exponential growth” of the last few years in delivery, it sees consumer demand for the channel as here to stay.

“I think it’s a very brave person who would predict what happens next, but I think that the change will be there.

“Customers are used to ordering through delivery, so for us it’s about making sure that however customers want to order from us, we’re able to give them the best experience possible.”

The brand will continue to work with third parties rather than develop its own delivery function.

“We’ve managed to grow our delivery business, but we wouldn’t have been able to do that ourselves. We’ve utilised delivery partners to do that. We have strong partnerships and collaborations with them, which we feel is the best way to work

“We concentrate what we do best and allow them to concentrate on what they do best.”

Reflecting on McDonald’s delivery journey, Smith added: “We’ve learned a lot over the last five years, and we’re still learning.

“That’s what makes it such an exciting part of the business and the industry to be in at the moment, there’s just there’s more to go and more to learn.”