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Auntie Anne’s hops on mobile delivery bandwagon with Postmates integration

Auntie Anne’s is the latest food marketer to slip into the mobile delivery sector following an integration with the Postmates delivery application, enabling consumers in seven test markets to receive salty and sweet snacks in under an hour.

Focus Brands Inc. has unveiled the mobile option for all six of its brands, including Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Cinnabon and Moe’s Southwest Grill. As more mainstream chains cotton on to the lucrative revenue potential of this model, brands that lag behind and do not offer their own branded or third-party delivery options will certainly fall out of favor with many time-strapped consumers.

“The implementation of on-demand delivery is something we’ve had our sights set on at Focus Brands for some time,” said Kat Cole, group president of Focus Brands, Atlanta. “While delivery itself is not new, we have been monitoring consumer adoption of app-enabled on-demand delivery and improvement in user experience.

“The improved functionality, design and adoption of these technologies created enough momentum to make us believe launching on-demand delivery would be a net positive to the business and our fans. Providing greater levels of convenience and accessibility to guests, while simultaneously launching an innovative tool to help franchisees grow their businesses.”

Instant gratification
The Postmates app allows users to place and pay for orders from top restaurants and brands, with a guaranteed delivery time of 60 minutes or less. The new integration will launch at 34 participating Focus Brands locations, within markets such as New York, Atlanta, Austin, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland and Dallas.

If the pilot sees successful results, rollouts will occur in additional markets throughout the year. Delivery options in all high-density locations can be expected by early 2016.

“The ability to order for delivery is a real convenience to the customer and can only add value to the brand, as long as the delivery service meets consumer expectations,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of Siteminis, Atlanta. “Initial results may not make significant impact to the bottom line, but this type of business usually takes time to really bear fruit.

“Just starting the program is half the battle,” she said.

Ms. Troutman is not affiliated with Focus Brands or Postmates, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Consumers seeking snacks and meals from Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Cinnabon, Schlotzsky’s and McAlister’s Deli will now have the ability to pull up the Postmates app, select the food marketer of choice and choose which items they would like included in their order.

Users who fall prey to cravings for an Auntie Anne’s Original Soft Pretzel or Cinnabon Classic Roll can relish in the instant gratification that mobile delivery offers. If a customer has a limited lunch break or cannot leave his or her office to pick up a snack, he or she may instead opt to have it delivered to an office building or apartment.

Auntie Anne’s has previously leveraged mobile strategy to increase customer outreach and consequently ramp up sales. The brand rewarded members of its My Pretzel Perks loyalty platform and fueled mobile app downloads as well as store visits by offering users a free Original or Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel to commemorate National Pretzel Day this past April (see story).

A market disrupter
Focus Brands sees the Postmates delivery service as a market disrupter with massive potential to boost its franchises’ business. Consumers can more easily be driven to make impulse purchases, therefore driving up revenue.

The convenience factor also cannot be understated. If a user would like to order a Carvel ice cream cake for a last-minute celebration, he or she can place the order, customize the cake with the appropriate name or greeting and have it delivered within an hour.

This past May, McDonald’s joined the shift towards mobile delivery by partnering with Postmates for a test at 88 New York locations, news that coincided with a business turnaround plan to increase profits and focus on consumer-driven decisions (see story).

Taco Bell also recently partnered with courier service DoorDash to deliver the Mexican chain’s products to customers in California and Dallas who place orders via the DoorDash mobile app or site, proving the cachet for fast food marketers (see story).

“We are seeing a ton of enthusiasm online and via our social channels and can see through [consumers’] adoption that this definitely made some of our brands’ fans’ dreams come true,” Focus Brands’ Ms. Cole said. “They are delighted to have a new opportunity to enjoy Focus Brands products when and where they want – and we’re thrilled to be able to deliver.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York