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KFC, Taco Bell franchisees embrace mobile payments as part of high-tech redesign

GACC is moving toward a more high-tech, trendy atmosphere in its KFC/Taco Bell locations that will include free WIFI and 47” hi-definition TVs. It is embracing mobile payments to complement the redesign and help it attract new customers and a younger demographic.

“We started trialing with one KFC and what they found out, they had an augmentation of income into that store,” said Joaquin Ayuso de Paul, CEO of Kuapay, Santa Monica, CA.

“The reason this makes sense is the convenience – the fact that customers don’t have to pull out their wallet to pay for a meal,” he said.

“The second factor is security – one of the major problems with plastic is the amount of fraud that is happening. The fact that we virtualize credit cards guarantees that they cannot be cloned and provides a lot of assurance to users.”

Kuapay is the mobile payment platform being used by GACC in the 14 KFC/Taco Bell locations.

Speedy transactions
To pay at a participating KFC location, customers first download the Kuapay Mobile Wallet app to their smartphone and link any credit or debit card. Kuapay is compatible with iOS, Android and BlackBerry.

After placing a food order, the cashier will scan the Kuapay QR code on the customer’s phone using an iPod touch and the bill of sale is instantly displayed on their mobile device.

The goal is to speed the transaction process for customers.

Kuapay is different from other mobile payment platform using an app and 2D bar codes to authenticate a payment in that users must tap to approve a payment once the bill of sale is displayed on their mobile device.

GACC also plans to use Kuapay’s built-in mobile marketing program to attract new customers with targeted mobile promotions by offering users a loyalty program where they earn $3 back after spending $15.  This enables GACC to target its marketing efforts to a more receptive audience as opposed to blanketing an area with print coupons.

Customer empowerment
Users can also make online purchases from their phone or a desktop computer and pay from the Kuapay app by entering in a series of numbers that appears on the phone screen. This eliminates the need for private data to go through the Internet.

Kuapay is currently available in over 200 merchant locations in the United States. The 14 KFC/Taco Bell restaurants featuring mobile payments are in Los Angeles County, Orange County and the Ontario area, including stores near Loyola Marymount University and UC-Irvine.

GACC operates 71 locations as a franchisee of Yum! Brands, which owns the KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell brands.

“The way you set up payments with Kuapay is different. With our app, there is another step – you have to accept,” Mr. Ayuso de Paul said.

“We give that control to the user and this makes the user feel empowered in the payment,” he said.

“If you approve the payment in the phone that makes the user more comfortable to use their phone for payment.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York