- Chipotle Mexican Grill, the quick service restaurant with more than 2,300 locations, redesigned its app with new mobile features including coupon offers, quick re-ordering of past meals and streamlined checkouts with mobile pay options, according to a press release.
- Curt Garner, chief digital and information officer at Chipotle, said the app is one of the ways the chain is trying to improve the guest experience with technology. Now, customers can use their smartphone to pay for meals picked up in stores via Apple Pay and Android Pay, per the release.
- This news builds on efforts by Chipotle earlier this year, including "smarter pickup times" that let customers who place digital orders shorten their wait times with an express line and more accurate pickup time estimates. The upgraded app is free to download for Apple and Android devices.
Chipotle has been a bit behind in embracing mobile tech as other popular chains like McDonald's, Taco Bell and Starbucks have made smartphones a key part of their strategies to drive sales and boost loyalty, especially as it works to position itself as a fresher, healthier alternative to traditional fast food competitors. Multiple food-poisoning incidents scared away some customers and hurt sales in the past few years as the company struggled to reassure diners that its food was safe. Despite those hiccups, Chipotle still has a massive, loyal customer base, which the chain is likely hoping will grow even more with the integration of mobile features that streamline ordering and payments.
This news builds on the QSR's work over the past several years building a database of opted-in mobile customers through national sweepstakes and promoting SMS offers on its website and direct mail. In the past year, however, the company has pivoted to focus more on engaging these customers online and on mobile in order to gather meaningful insights about its large national audience that can be used to optimize future efforts. In October, the chain also partnered with Facebook's "Order Food" feature for customers to save time and lock down Chipotle takeout or delivery in a streamlined social media app, in a move to appeal to consumers looking for a more friction-free dining experience.
The QSR isn't the only chain with a fresh mobile app. Fazoli's, the biggest fast casual Italian chain with 220 restaurants in 26 states, launched its first app-based loyalty program with mobile ordering features yesterday.
Amazon this month is also getting into restaurant ordering as a way to expand the reach of its Amazon Pay service. Amazon Restaurants extends an existing partnership with Clover, a point-of-sale brand already being utilized by many restaurants. The service lets diners browse participating restaurants, place their order and check out with stored payment information without ever leaving the Amazon app, which aims to save on-the-go consumers time.