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McDonald's developing loyalty program for french fry-loving customers

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If visiting McDonald’s (MCD) is part of your weekly routine, then buckle up. The fast food giant is developing a customer loyalty program that promises to reward diners who frequently order off of the extra value menu.

The loyalty program will be a feature on the new smartphone app McDonald’s plans to release at the end of the year or in early 2017.

The current version of the McDonald’s app does have a beverage loyalty program that rewards customers in some markets with a free McCafe drink after they’ve purchased five. That app has been downloaded 7.5 million times, so the company has high hopes for its new release.

“We’re working on a customer-designed loyalty program that we think will be as good as there is out there in the marketplace,” said McDonald’s USA president Mike Andres at a conference.

How the loyalty program will work is still a mystery.

Will it be like the new Starbucks (SBUX) loyalty program where customers are rewarded for the amount of money they spend? Or it might mimic Taco Bell, whose loyalty program rewards customers who order through the app. Or maybe it will take a page from Burger King, and give visitors a free item on every fourth order.

What we do know is that the app will send notifications to customers who haven’t visited McDonald’s in a while.

“If we see a thawing off, we can entice them with their favorite products to come to the restaurant,” said Andres. “That’s the future of customer relationship management. We think it can be a significant sales layer for us.”

This is just the latest attempt from McDonald’s to stay competitive with companies like Shake Shack (SHAK), Five Guys and Smashburger.

In October, Mickey D’s saw a jump in sales after introducing an all-day breakfast menu at its restaurants.

And in November, the company tested the McPick 2 for $2 menu where customers could select two items for just $2. In March, it was changed to McPick 2 for $5 to further boost sales.

Do you think the McDonald’s loyalty program is a good idea, or have questions about it? Email us at yfmoneymailbag@yahoo.com.