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Wendy’s sees opportunity for personalized, national offers with mobile ordering

Wendy’s sees an opportunity to add personalized offers and national coupons to its mobile ordering and payments experience, underscoring the growing convergence between leveraging mobile to build customer loyalty and drive added convenience.

During a conference call with analysts to discuss the company’s second quarter financial results, executives discussed its ongoing test of mobile ordering and mobile payments as well as plans to take a new innovation lab to the next level later this year. Once that happens, executives said the company would be in a position to expand into personalized offers and national coupons.

“We are also working hard with our 90 Degree Lab investment to really move from our 1.0 lab to our 2.0 lab in the back half of this year, probably in the November time frame,” said Todd A. Penegor, chief financial officer and senior vice president at The Wendy’s Company, during the conference call.

“And at that stage we would be able to put integrated offers based on consumer behavior into the mobile order, mobile payment complete experience, be able to do national coupon drops,” he said.

Beacon support
Wendy’s is testing mobile ordering and mobile payments in 10 restaurants in Columbus, OH, as well as in approximately half of its restaurants in the Phoenix area and in all Austin, TX-based stores.

The chain reported that in Phoenix and Austin it has turned on support to drive more transactions.

In Phoenix, Wendy’ s is offering a complimentary Frosty treat to anyone who completes an in-app purchase (see story).

Wendy’s is leveraging beacon technology to support the experience and make it as seamless as possible.

While the company says it is still too early to determine if mobile ordering and mobile payments and driving any operating efficiencies, the feedback from users has been positive.

Mobile innovations
Once the 90 Degree Lab project gets to the next level later this year, Wendy’s to drive hard on the self-order kiosks it has installed in restaurants as a way to mitigate pressures on the labor front.

Wendy’s opened the innovation lab this spring to provide a collaborate environment for exploring digital enhancements and to act as a testing ground for innovations such as mobile ordering and payment functionalities (see story).

Mobile functionality such as payments and ordering are becoming a must-have in the fast-food sector, with most of the major chains now in the testing or full deployment stage.

Wendy’s saw a 2.4 percent increase in same-store sales during the second quarter, beating analysts’ estimates as the chain reaps the benefits of remodeled restaurants and new menu items.

The fast food sector, in general, is facing weak sales, with a push into mobile viewed as important strategy for better connecting with the younger consumers who typically frequent these businesses.

“Along with new restaurant growth, consumer-facing technology is an important way that we are increasing Wendy’s brand access,” Mr. Penegor said. “We are investing in platforms such as mobile payments, mobile ordering and customer self-order kiosks, which provides consumer convenient, the potential for a higher check, faster speed of service, and a seamless brand experience along with the opportunity for increased customer counts.”

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