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article imageTaco Bell launches mobile app for ordering food

By Leigh Goessl     Oct 28, 2014 in Business
Technology has already been rapidly integrated into most industries and, in recent years, mobile has been making huge strides. The latest trend appears to be ordering fast food through a mobile app.
Back in 1954 Ray Croc conceived the idea of mass producing restaurant food, and it wasn't long before the fast food industry took off. The business he built from a small hamburger stand grew to become a conglomerate that continues to lead its industry all these decades later.
Since the founding of McDonald's, a number of other fast food companies cropped up. One of the biggest attractions consumers have to this business model is the fact it is fast. All people had to do was walk up to a register, pay the cashier and be handed a tray of food. Next, the business models of various companies added a drive through option, which has become known simply as "drive-thru", increasing convenience while continuing to deliver speed.
Next many companies began to add an online ordering option, so it isn't surprising that mobile would soon figure into the equation. Enter fast food apps.
This week Taco Bell is the latest company to add an app feature to its business model. The app, which was launched Tues., Oct. 28, is compatible with both iPhone and Android smartphones. According to CNN Money, customers still have to pick up their food, the app won't allow a person to set a pickup time, and the food actually won't be prepared until the person arrives.
How the app works is as the customer comes within 500 feet of the restaurant, it will send the mobile user a message that says" "Looks like you've arrived. Would you like us to start preparing your food?" Then the person can place his or her order and then pay by debit, credit or a Taco Bell gift card.
So what are the benefits?
The company says customers will be able to skip the line and customize their food (instead of accepting the ingredients that automatically come with each item - they can add or omit). Basically, the person ordering barely has to interact with a person -- they can come through the drive-thru with food ready to go -- or they can still opt to go in and pick up their order in person.
Detroit Free Press, in a phone interview with Brian Niccol, president of Taco Bell, learned that eventually the chain will roll out a loyalty program that is linked to the app. Taco Bell app customers will initially be the only ones able to order a new product.
Many other companies have also jumped on the technology bandwagon. For instance, anyone who has been to Chili's in the last few months will have likely seen the relatively new gadget on the table that allows users to order, pay and/or play games.
Reportedly, initial testing of the new Taco Bell app in certain markets has proved positive, so it is very possible mobile app ordering of fast food could become the next big trend.
However, the question begs asking. For the most part, since its inception, fast food has already been quick. How many more notches does the industry really need to kick it up in terms of convenience?
More about Taco bell, mobile app, Android, iPhone, Fast food
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