McDonald’s announced this week that its smartphone app has clocked up more than 1m downloads in less than a year.

More than one in ten users return to the app more each month, with peak times unsurprisingly coinciding with lunch and dinner.

The app, which was designed by Grapple, doesn’t allow you to place an order, but does provide a store locator function, full menu and nutritional information.

So how has it clocked up so many downloads? I checked out the Android version of the app to find out…


When you first open the app it checks if you are aged over 16, presumably as a legal requirement, and asks if you want to receive notifications.

This is a good idea as it gets permission upfront rather than irritating users with unexpected notifications later on.

The first page you are presented with is the ‘Find’ tab which lists all the McDonald’s restaurants closest to you, as well as offering a search tool.


Results can be filtered on various criteria including whether the outlet has a drive-thru, play place or free WiFi.

Each listing also gives the restaurants address and phone number as well as opening times and its location on a map.

This is all fairly simple stuff, but it’s very easy to use and gives you al the information you need when looking for a McDonald’s. 


You may expect this tab to be full of offers and deals, but in fact it contains details of four new products and one free offer.

‘Find out more’ tabs on each page give you access to all the nutritional information, ingredients and allergens for each product.

This is really quite a basic tab but provides details of new products that would probably be useful to McDonald’s customers.


The ‘Food’ tab contains information on every single item on the McDonald’s menu, even the dips and dressings.

Even if you’re not a big McDonald’s fan, it’s quite fascinating look at the nutritional information for all of its products.


For example, did you know that a single quarter pounder with cheese contains 59% of your recommended daily saturated fat intake and 44% your daily salt intake?

Each of the items can also be added to the ‘My Meal’ tab with one click.

My Meal

This tab shows you the overall nutritional value for your meal, which is both useful and interesting. It also links to facts about the ingredients that McDonald’s uses.

McDonald’s always gets a bad press for the high fat and salt content of its food, so it’s great to have all the nutritional information presented in one tab.


But I think McDonald’s could have added extra functionality into this tab, possibly using it as a loyalty card or allowing customers to use it to pay for meals in a similar way to Starbucks.


Overall, this is a simple but well designed app that provides some useful functionality for McDonald’s customers. It’s very easy to use and looks good, although they could make it even better by adding in some additional payment or loyalty features.

One thing I don’t like is that the tabs are accessed using the phone’s menu button rather than clicking an on-screen icon, but this is personal preference.

As for the 1m downloads, obviously most of this will be down to the McDonald’s brand but the fact that 10% of users return each month shows that it is a useful app.

And it shows that simple, functional mobile apps can be a great marketing tool for brands.