Major US food chain Taco Bell is trialing an application that allows customers to order meals in advance from mobile devices. The app, which is currently being tested in Orange County, California, gives users the opportunity to order food to take-away ahead of visiting a restaurant. A national roll-out for the scheme is planned for later in 2014.
Discussing the trial, Jeff Jenkins, mobile lead for Taco Bell, said the app was designed to take advantage of the chain’s younger demographic.
“Mobile is the biggest shift in QSR [Quick Service Restaurants] since the drive thru. If you can get 10 million people to download your app, you’re putting a portal to Taco Bell in 10 million pockets.”
The app from Taco Bell comes after a survey from the National Restaurant Association found that 74 per cent of consumers aged between 18 to 34 said they would order takeout on a mobile device if the option was available.
Elsewhere in the industry, Papa John’s, Domino’s and Pizza Hut already offer in-store mobile payment, while McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A are also rumoured to be currently testing an app that allows delivery pickup.
Reporting on the news from Taco Bell, US-publication Nation’s Restaurant News highlighted the success of Chipotle Mexican Grill; having offered mobile ordering since 2009, the food chain said they planned to invest $10 million into further development of its mobile platform over the next year.
Staff writer Lisa Jennings commented:
“Restaurant chains have been talking about mobile ordering for years but faced a chicken-and-egg dilemma: They were hesitant to invest in a mobile platform before it was clear whether consumers were ready to order and pay for food using their phones. This year, it appears that they believe consumers are ready, as the use of mobile ordering has jumped to the fast track at a number of national chains.”