U.S. Markets closed

How a digital focus is changing McDonald's and Burger King

It’s not your imagination. Everything in the retail space is changing fast and new methods of payment are helping lead the way.

“If you drive up to a Burger King (QSR) today, there's been more technology changes in restaurants and quick-service restaurants in the last three years than there has been in the last 30 years,” Jeff Sloan, CEO of payment processor Global Payments (GPN), said on Yahoo Finance’s “The First Trade.”

That includes everything from high-tech systems to prepared food, to kiosk-based ordering, to using your phone or fingerprint to pay.

McDonald’s (MCD) highlighted its digital focus on its recent earnings release, calling it critical for fulfilling “customers’ desire for simpler, smoother and more personal engagement over our digital platforms – including kiosks, Drive Thru’s and our mobile app.”

A McDonald's kiosk is shown, Tuesday, March 6, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

“Everything from the hardware to the software to the payments to the drive-in to the use of your phone and pay with your face or pay with your thumb,” Sloan said. “All those things are driving our businesses.”

Global Payments serves upwards of three million customers, connecting merchants and non-profits to banks by processing debit, credit and other payments. Its third-quarter results remained strong, beating on earnings and posting revenue that was up 27% year over year.

For Sloan, the next frontier is contactless payment, the systems that let you tap your credit card and go. You do need special updated cards to make it work, but more and more banks are offering them and Sloan says Americans seem very interested in signing up.

“JPMorgan is an issuer, for example, of cards with contactless technology,” Sloan said. “This technology today is not new in Europe and Asia-Pacific. In fact, it's probably 20% of our revenue in the United Kingdom today.”

“I think you'll see a lot more growth coming out of that,” he said.

Read more:

Dunkin' CEO: Beyond Meat sandwiches did 'exceedingly well' in NYC

Earnings season could be a head-fake for the markets: analyst

How Beyond Meat is like Tesla

Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance

Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, LinkedIn, YouTube, and reddit.