eMac Gives McDonald's Franchisees An E-Break

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Chicago-In a move that could profoundly alter the multibillion-dollar fast-food industry, a new Internet procurement site designed for McDonald's Corp.'s 27,000 franchises is almost ready to serve.

The site will be launched by eMac Digital, a company founded in June 2000 and jointly owned by McDonald's and Accel-KKR Internet Co. The as-yet-unnamed procurement hub is the first to target the fast-food restaurant industry, which is among America's largest and most profitable.

According to Crain Communications' BtoB, the fast-food industry as a whole has been very slow to embrace the Internet, and B2B e-commerce in particular. But the most ambitious part of eMac Digital's hub is its plan to include franchises from other fast-food companies.

BtoB reports that the procurement hub, set to go live in mid-2001, will allow all of McDonald's franchises across the globe to buy everything needed to run their restaurants-from uniforms and spatulas to hamburger buns-all on one site.

Aside from being faster and more convenient for franchisees, the procurement site will allow business owners to buy supplies and materials at a discounted price, ultimately reducing costs for McDonald's. -Business Wire

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