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Chick-Fil-A ramps up mcommerce with mobile payments, ordering

Chick-Fil-A is updating its mobile application to include two features paramount for driving mcommerce: in-app mobile payments and mobile ordering in more than 130 of its chain restaurants.

Consumers can now use their smartphones to download the free app, available for Android and iOS platforms, and load funds from credit or debit cards into their accounts to provide for a streamlined payment process. The Atlanta-based restaurant chain is also aiming to keep up with major food and beverage brands such as Starbucks with its rollout of mobile ordering at bricks-and-mortar locations in Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, Washington and Orlando.

“We think customers will like it because they no longer need to dig through their purse or wallet for cash or a credit card to pay for their meal,” said Michael Lage, manager, customer relationship strategies at Chick-fil-A, College Park, Ga. “Now busy parents, workers on a break, or anyone with a smartphone will have payment readily available in the palm of their hand.

“It’s simple and is just one more way we’re trying to care for our customers personally, by giving them a convenient and simple way to pay.”

Speedy ordering
Mobile ordering is set to resonate positively with on-the-go consumers that may not have time to wait in lines to make and pay for food orders. With the new Chick-Fil-A app, customers can select any entrée, sauce, side item and beverage and also customize those options based on personal preferences.

For loyal and frequent consumers, favorite orders can be saved within the app for speedy reordering in the future. Users can select the pick-up option best suited to their needs, such as walking inside the restaurant to retrieve the order or having it delivered right to their waiting vehicle.

The order can then be paid for using Chick-Fil-A’s payment solution and the credit or debit card loaded into the account. Restaurant employees will prepare orders as soon as consumers “check-in” on the app to maximize the freshness of the order and ensure it can be picked up according to the guest’s schedule.

After sufficient funds are loaded onto guests’ accounts, they can use their smartphone as a payment device at the register or at drive-thru windows. Users can tap the “Pay” button to access their account’s unique QR code.

Once the QR code is scanned, the cost of the order will be deducted from the balance on the account.

“The goal of mobile ordering is not to streamline work, but to give our guests flexibility and ensure that they are cared for, regardless of which channel they use to place their order,” said Khalilah Cooper, alternative ordering experience leader of hospitality and service design at Chick-fil-A. “Even so, our restaurant team members have been top of mind while developing mobile ordering, and we have are focused on making the operations of mobile ordering organized and uncomplicated for them as well.”

Enhancing mobile offerings
The launch of Chick-Fil-A’s mobile payment system marks another step towards the restaurant chain’s goals of becoming as mobile-oriented as possible for the convenience of consumers. The chain recognizes that mobile ordering offers increased flexibility for consumers strapped for time, such as guests on lunch breaks or families with children that require extra customization and want to avoid long lines.

Chick-Fil-A has future plans to enhance its mobile app, such as an auto-reload functionality for mobile payments and incorporation with Apple Pay. Features currently available within the app include an allergen filter, menu information and a restaurant location finder.

It will be expanding mobile ordering to more locations next year, with plans for it to be available nationwide by 2016.

“At Chick-fil-A we have a commitment to fresh food and good service,” Ms. Cooper said. “Chick-fil-A’s mobile app reinforces both. It empowers our customers to get what they want, when they want it and how they want it.”

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