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Fast-food gets faster

world Updated: Mar 23, 2007 12:35 IST
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Fast-food is about to get even faster in a tie-up between Japan's largest mobile telephone operator and the world's biggest hamburger chain.

Under a partnership announced Monday, NTTDoCoMo subscribers will be able to use their handsets at McDonald's 3,800 restaurants in Japan to pay electronic cash or pre-order their burgers from October.

"Speed is how we clinch victory," said Eikoh Harada, the chief executive officer of McDonald's Holdings Japan.

"By reducing the transaction time with our customers at the counter to 30 seconds, our sales will increase by five per cent. By reducing service time further if customers pre-order through their cellphones, we will be able to boost sales even more," he told reporters.

The joint venture will also allow McDonald's to send electronic coupons and seek feedback from clients, cutting the burger giant's costs.

"Printing coupons and including them in the folds of newspapers or magazines and face-to-face surveys have been extremely costly," Harada said.

DoCoMo Inc. has around 19 million "cellphone wallet" users who can use their handsets to pay at more than 200,000 stores across Japan including 24-hour convenience stores.

It is DoCoMo's first such alliance with the fast-food business.

"By joining hands with McDonald's, we hope to increase convenience for our customers in their daily lives," said Masao Nakamura, president of NTT DoCoMo.

The companies said their joint venture will be established with paid-in-capital of 300 million yen (2.48 million dollars) -- 70 per cent coming from McDonald's and 30 per cent from DoCoMo.

The cellphone and burger giants said the joint venture was not exclusive and that they were open to similar deals with other companies.