Computerworld has a cool story on how mobile apps are changing fast food. By allowing customers to pre-order ahead of time on their phones, big chains are effectively making their whole processes much faster and more efficient.
Taco Bell’s test, currently happening in five Southern California locations, is particularly ingenious in that it doesn’t just allow for pre-ordering, it also charges the user’s credit card, so no transactions are necessary at the restaurant itself. Moreover, the app uses the phone’s GPS to signal the restaurant that the customer is approaching. That way, you can place your order and the preparers will only start work on it when you’re a few minutes away. Talk about just-in-time food.
As the article illustrates, doing this isn’t a big stretch for chains because it is usually just a case of taking what the cashier sees on their register and repurposing it into an app. Whether the order is coming from the front counter or from across town, it makes no difference to the people preparing the food, which is why everyone – including Taco Bell, McDonald’s, KFC, Papa John’s and others – are in the process of developing and testing such systems. Read the rest of this entry »