In a move that could profoundly alter the multibillion-dollar fast-food industry, a new Internet procurement site designed for McDonald's Corporation's 27,000 franchises is almost ready to serve, according to an exclusive story in today's issue of BtoB.

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 b-to-b e-commerce in particular. But the most ambitious part of eMac Digital's hub is its plan to include other 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 to 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.

The complete story can be viewed on Monday morning at BtoB's Web site www.btobonline.com.

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