McTech on Deck at McDonald's

And does Ronald have a hunch about brunch?

McDonald's Apple (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Foodservice / QSRs / Technology)

OAK BROOK, Ill. -- McDonald's Corp. has announced that starting in October, it will accept the Apple Pay mobile payments service in all of its U.S. restaurants for customers using the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch.

McDonald's is also expanding a test concept built around ordering via tablet, reported The Chicago Tribune.

The combination of Apple Pay and McDonald's investments in NFC near-field communication (NFC)-enabled payment scanners will significantly simplify how customers pay for their food and beverage purchases at McDonald's, the fast feeder said.

"Apple Pay enhances our global digital strategy and is a win for McDonald's customers who desire greater speed and ease," said Atif Rafiq, McDonald's senior vice president and global chief digital officer. "Apple's transformative mobile payments service brings a new level of convenience to McDonald's customers, allowing them to instantly pay and stay, or pay and be on their way. Our support of mobile payment options further demonstrates our commitment to be an influential leader in the retail digital space."

While keeping a finger on Touch ID, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, users hold their devices near the contactless NFC reader to make a payment at front counters and drive-thrus at McDonald's more than 14,000 U.S. restaurants. Users' payments will be charged to their credit or debit card on file from their iTunes Store account.

The company launched the tablet-based ordering pilot last year and expanded it across San Diego last week, the Tribune said.

The move is part of a larger trend of chain eateries turning tablets into "equal parts menu, server and paycheck," said the report. Applebee's, Panera Bread, Chili's and many airport bars have installed tablets to allow diners to order food or beverages without a wait.

Marketing executives for Chili's said the tablets can speed up service and operate like table-side billboards, encouraging impulse orders of appetizers and desserts. A spokesperson for Ziosk, which made the tablets, told the newspaper that customers who used them spent more money, finished quicker and left better tips.

The move toward tablets is a bet from marketers on a quirk of buyer psychology, the report said, that customers will order more food if they can do it on a screen. While ordering from a person might lead you to rein in your appetite, a tablet sits silently and harmlessly, covered in colorful ads. Ordering off a tablet can also lead customers to try something new, which might make them happier and more likely to come back.

The tablets could help McDonald's send data more directly back to headquarters on what customers want. A workforce of tablets could even potentially allow the firm to cut back in staffing, the report said.

The made-to-order burgers would potentially end up being more expensive, too, which could help the firm's bottom line.

Click here to view the full Tribune report.

Meanwhile, Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald's has filed a federal trademark registration for the term "McBrunch," company spokesperson Lisa McComb confirmed for USA Today following a report by the fast-food industry blog BurgerBusiness.

"That sort of speculation is highly premature," McComb told the paper. "We routinely file intent to use trademark applications as a regular course of business. We can't share details at this time as to how the trademarks may or may not be used."

McDonald's is not currently testing any sort of McBrunch concept, she added.

"There's no reason to file for it if you don't plan to use it," BurgerBusiness editor Scott Hume told USA Today. "Their declining sales show they have to do something."

Click here to view the full USA Today report.