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Applebee’s boosts convenience of mobile ordering with curbside pickup

Casual dining chain Applebee’s is making ordering the focal point of a revamped mobile application that includes curbside pickup, advance ordering, scheduled orders and easy payment via saved credit, debit and gift cards.

The news points to how, as mobile ordering has quickly become a must-have feature for establishments serving food, savvy marketers are now looking to provide even greater convenience for customers, such as with curbside pickup. The refreshed app is part of a broader technology initiative focused on improving the guest experience while allowing for greater engagement with the brand.

“The elements we are most excited about are the enhanced order placement process and the ability to store guest preferences, including favorite orders and payment methods,” said Steve Coe, executive director of communications at Applebee’s.

“The placement process is simpler, faster, more intuitive and better suited to fit in with what our guests need, and the ability to store preferences makes it a more streamlined process from start to finish,” he said. “It’s ultimately going to make the process much simpler for our guests.

“We are giving guests an added layer of convenience; they are able to order in advance and pay before they arrive, allowing them to save time in their busy lives. In addition, we’re adapting to an increasingly savvy guest that depends on their smartphones to help them live their lives in a more streamlined way.”

The Applebee’s chain of franchise casual dining restaurants comprises 2,000 locations.

Order-centric app
Applebee’s redesigned its app to make it more order-centric based on what guests told the chain they wanted.

Applebee’s developed the updated app in partnership with Olo.

The goal was to create an easier, faster, safer and more useful tool.

New capabilities include a simplified order placement process enabling users to place advance orders and schedule orders for any time in the future, whether it is today, tomorrow or next week.

The app also has improved navigation for more intuitive and convenient use.

Additionally, the app saves favorite orders and payment details for fast reordering.

The payment processing capability enables users to enter and save credit, debit or gift card details within the app for convenient mobile payment.

Next-generation features
Applebee’s is enticing consumers to try out the new capabilities with an offer of $5 off for new users who place their first order via the app or Web site.

The chain has also enhanced its online ordering capabilities with similar new features, which can be found on the site

Mobile ordering has quickly become a must-have capability for businesses serving food, attracting many of the biggest brands.

The earliest adopters in the quick-serve restaurant space are now looking to the next generation of mobile ordering capabilities.

Taco Bell is testing a new Slack interface, called TacoBot, that enables users to order food directly within the messaging platform (see story).

Domino’s Pizza recently raised the bar for quick service restaurant chains innovating in mobile with the launch of a zero-click ordering application (see story).

While retailers such as Sears and Target have tested curbside pick-up for mobile orders, Applebee’s is an early adopter among restaurant chains.

Applebee’s app and Web site enhancements are the latest moves by the chain to leverage technology to enhance the customer experience. It also offers tabletop tablets that can be used to order appetizers and desserts, flag a server, make a payment or play games. The devices suggest additional food and drink options for guests.

“When a guest open the Applebee’s Mobile App, the first page they see will offer them the opportunity to ‘Start New Order,’ and from there, the ordering process is very easy,” Mr. Coe said. “The app is able to determine nearby Applebee’s restaurants based on the user’s location, and the entire process – from location, to menu, to payment – is built to ensure ease of use and speed.

“When the guest pulls into their chosen Applebee’s location the staff is alerted via camera and orders are matched to guest vehicle descriptions,” he said. “It’s a very intuitive and easy process.”