McDonald’s has announced a deal with wireless charging company PowerKiss to provide free smartphone and tablet charging facilities at selected restaurants across Europe.
The trial, being tested at a limited number of locations the precise details of which have not yet been announced, sees the company installing PowerKiss wireless charging plates, based on the Qi standard, into tablets at the restaurants for customers to fill their portable devices’ batteries as they fill their own stomachs.
The technology is embedded directly into the table, with PowerKiss claiming it’s both safe and hygienic, and allows those with Qi-enabled devices such as the Google Nexus 4 to start charging immediately simply by placing their device down on the table. For users of smartphones or tablets that do not have wireless charging capabilities, such as Apple’s popular iPhone 5, the company provides what it calls the PowerKiss Ring, a plug-in device that connects to the charging port and enables wireless charging for as long as it is connected.
“Wireless charging will be seamlessly integrated into selected table tops of the pilot restaurants. It is hygienic, safe and unobtrusive, but at the same also functional, aesthetic and innovative. Therefore it follows McDonald’s Europe interior philosophy very well” Eric Bourgeois, senior director at McDonald’s Europe, said of the trial. “It’s always important for us to create premium value for our mobile customers. The PowerKiss wireless charging solution fits very well into this thinking.”
The move comes as fast-food chains look increasingly towards technology to help them fight off their competition: many restaurants now offer free Wi-Fi for their customers, and an increasing number provide customer-accessible power sockets for more traditional charging – or, at least, overlook their customers hunting out the sockets usually reserved for the cleaning staff’s equipment.
Neither PowerKiss nor McDonald’s has announced whether the UK will be included in the wireless charging trial, and neither how long it might be before the trial is concluded and – pending success, of course – a full roll-out of the technology begins.