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22 May 2024

I’m deliverin’ it: McDonald’s starts home delivery service in Dubai

By Shuchita Kapur

For all the Happy Meal and McArabia fans out there, there’s good news in store. Burger and McNuggets lovers can now savour yummy treats as McDonald’s, the all-time favourite fast food chain, has finally begun its home delivery service in Dubai.

And while Dubai isn’t the first location in the world that McDonald’s has begun its home delivery service, it is indeed part of a handful of global cities where the fast food giant has decided to part with its no-delivery tradition.

Indeed, McDonald’s fans across the world have been seeking to coax the fast food chain into delivering is McBurgers to their homes for a while now. There even is a Facebook Page titled, rather unimaginatively, ‘McDonalds should do home delivery!’ which has generated some 1,683 ‘Likes’.

There is indeed a big financial reason why giants like McDonald’s are taking a break from tradition and beginning to entertain food delivery requests. While fast food chains make their dough by banking on economies of scale and keeping a lid on prices, traditionally they realized that delivery of small orders eats into their lunch (also known as profits), and it didn’t make any kind of financial sense to do that.

However, as the chains have expanded into new and emerging markets, like India, China and Egypt, they face increasingly stiff competition from low-cost roadside food stalls. Additionally, many consumers in emerging markets are less conscious (but growing) about the food quality and restaurant ambience, and roadside eateries are in fact part of the culture in many such markets.

To top it all, real estate prices have been moving up, especially in the emerging markets and some developed ones such as Dubai, making it expensive for fast food chains to have elaborate drive-throughs or dot the malls with outlets.

To counter that, the large chains have realized that home delivery services, especially in key emerging markets, are a must to wrest market share from low-cost operators. In cities like Delhi, Cairo and Beijing, a battery of delivery boys riding on mobikes and wearing McDonald’s trademark red T-shirts go about delivering Big Macs and fries in specially designed boxes.

McDonald’s, the world’s largest hamburger chain, is also trying other things to keep up with the emerging trends in markets across the world. For one, it has been steadily adding healthier side-order options to its menu that has been traditionally dominated by fries and fizzy drinks.

Now, however, McDonald’s offers a choice of green salads and fresh juices to entice the health-conscious customer. In addition, it has started posting calorie counts on food packaging, as part of the company’s commitment to promoting balanced lifestyles.

The labels on McDonald’s packaging include five key nutrition components, which are calories, proteins, total fat, carbohydrates, and sodium; additional nutrition components can be found on McDonald’s Arabia’s website. Packaging has been formatted in a clear and easy-to-read format to allow customers to understand the nutrition breakdown of the products they’re enjoying.

And while emerging market dynamics have dictated the shift in fast food chains’ decision to start home delivery of their food items, it is perhaps Dubai’s hot climate that would have made the chain to include the emirate in its delivery destinations.

With McDelivery service, Dubai residents can now order their burgers, nuggets, drinks, deserts and salads either via phone or online.

To order either way, you need to place a minimum order of Dh25, however, there is a small charge that is applicable, making it a bit pricy than what you would pay at the normal outlet or takeaway.

A charge of Dh3 is applicable if you order online whereas a Dh5 would be levied if you place the order on the phone.

However, fast food fans are happy with this new initiative. “I would rather pay this small amount than drive to a McDonalds just to buy food. It’s easier and more convenient,” said Mahesh Jalal, an Indian resident living in New Dubai.