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(McDonald’s Photo).

McDonald’s is going mobile in an effort to court new customers and keep up with competitors.

On Wednesday, the fast food chain’s leadership told analysts that they plan to roll out a mobile order and payment service to 20,000 McDonald’s locations across the U.S. this year, according to the Chicago Tribune.

McDonald’s is playing catch-up to competitors like Seattle coffee giant Starbucks, which pioneered mobile ordering. The program has been hugely successful for Starbucks with more than 8 million mobile paying customers, more than a third of which use the order-ahead feature.

McDonald’s, on the other hand, says it has lost 500 million sales transactions to competitors since 2012, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. Slow innovation in mobile could be one explanation, though a growing food health and ethics consciousness may also shoulder some of the blame.

In addition to mobile ordering, McDonald’s is also planning to expand its delivery service in the U.S. The company began testing delivery with UberEats in Florida last year.

As the Oak Brook, Ill.,-based fast-food giant seeks to ramp up its digital products, a West Coast engineering center isn’t out of the question. Established corporations often set up technology operations in Seattle, in an effort to mine the region’s tech talent and avoid breaking the bank by trying to recruit in Silicon Valley.

McDonald’s corporate currently has two job openings in the Northwest — one for a Field Training Consultant and another for a regional Area Real Estate Manager. Could golden arches be out there on the Seattle horizon? Tell us what you think in the comments.

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