McDonald's makes fast food faster with mobile ordering

The "golden arches" is testing a new mobile ordering and payment service in California and Washington.

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Patrick Holland has been a phone reviewer for CNET since 2016. He is a former theater director who occasionally makes short films. Patrick has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of phones, especially the iPhone and iOS. He used to co-host CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast and interviewed guests like Jeff Goldblum, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Merchant, Sam Jay, Edgar Wright and Roy Wood Jr.
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Mobile Big Mac attack.

Zhang Peng/Getty Images

As of Wednesday, if you live in Monterey or Salinas, California, you might be able to order your Big Mac and fries through your iPhone . On March 15, McDonald's began testing its mobile ordering and payment app at 29 California restaurants and will expand the test to an additional 51 locations in Spokane, Washington, on March 20.

The process is pretty straightforward: You place an order through the app (for iOS right now); when you arrive at McDonald's you check in and pay using the app; then get your food. The app tracks a customer's distance from the restaurant to make sure the food is freshly prepared.

As reported by Reuters, the fast-food giant seeks to join other quick-food establishments like Dominos, Chipotle and Starbucks by bringing mobile ordering to most of its restaurants. In the case of McDonald's, that'd mean most of its 14,000 US restaurants and some 6,000 others in Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Australia and China. The chain wants to make this happen by the end of this year.

"It's better to be right than to be first to market," said McDonald's Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook.

McDonald's didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.