Mobile Payments Making ‘Fast Food’ a Reality


mobile-paymentsAs retailers continue to look for faster, more efficient ways to execute customer transactions, fast food chains are following suit. Wendy’s and Burger King recently released their plan to implement mobile payment systems in their restaurants, where customers can use their smartphones and mobile devices to pay for food. While Wendy’s is still in the last part of its testing phase and has tested the system at offshore locations, like Dublin, for the last year, Burger King is set roll their new POS system out this month.The recent push toward mobile payments comes at the helm of their success in larger retail stores and restaurants. Starbucks implemented mobile payments more than a year ago, and introduced a new, improved Starbucks app on the iPhone last month that allows for digital tipping. A user can also shake their phone and bring up a barcode to be scanned by the barista for payment. Their mobile apps have been increasingly effective, and Starbucks Corp. reports that 14% of all their payments are credited to mobile devices.

“Mobile point of sale solutions, such as POSLavu and LightSpeed, definitely speed up the checkout process for retail stores, restaurants and fast food chains,” explains Eric Catania, CEO of Digital Reality. “We no longer need to wait in line to make payments thanks to these technologies.”

The mobile payment fever is catching at other eateries as well. Chipotle and Subway have begun testing out mobile payments, with Subway sequestering their testing to California for the time being. They introduced their ordering app in March of last year, and 2,000 Subway locations around California accept order through the app, and about 400,000 customers have downloaded and used it in lieu of waiting in line at the cash register.

Subway’s ordering app also allows customers to select their sub, add in drinks, chips, and other items before making a payment. The mobile payment app is expected to launch nationwide later this year.Mobile payments at restaurants are part of global trend that points to mobile POS devices becoming a major contributor to overall sales. The mobile POS device shipping market is supposed to expand more than 95% in 2014, according to IHL Group, and by 2017, the Garter research firm projects that mobile payment sales will exceed $720 billion. Apple’s iPhone and iPad are leading the charge, but Windows and Android phones are catching up quickly. These apps are being utilized in retails stores and hospitality locations in addition to restaurants and fast food joints.Other apps, such as Cover, which is available on both iPhone and Android phones, allow customers to frequent more than one restaurant and pay for their bills. While this app can only be used in Brooklyn and select New York City restaurants, customers do not have to download individual apps for each place, making it a convenient payment option.

While it may not be feasible for Starbucks, Burger King, and Wendy’s to share one app or mobile payment system, the idea could be game-changing for the fast food industry. For now, customers are content downloading payments apps and getting their fast food, even faster.

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