Fast food chains speed mobile payments progress

Recognizing that m-commerce is the future, Burger King (NYSE: BKW) and McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) are rolling out mobile payment programs in the U.S. and abroad, while Taco Bell (NYSE: YUM) is still testing its mobile payment app.

Burger King recently announced that its new app will allow consumers to pay using their smartphones. The chain will begin rolling out the app next month and the service should be available in all of the chain's 7,000 U.S. locations in the next few months. The option to order food and drinks ahead of time for later in-store pickup may be added at a later time, Bryson Thornton, a Burger King spokesman for the company, said in a statement emailed to Technomic.

McDonald's also said in December that it was testing a smartphone app, called McD, at 1,000 U.S. stores. The trial app sends customers deals and discounts to redeem with their phones at participating stores.

McDonald's mobile payment program is perhaps the farthest along internationally since it recently began pairing its McDelivery service in Thailand with a mobile-enabled point-of-sale (mPOS) service.

The fast food giant's Thai customers who order delivery service can use their mobile devices to charge their orders. After adding this mPOS feature, McThai Co., which operates McDonald's in Thailand, expects to see cashless payments grow by 10 to 20 percent and expects the McDelivery program to increase by 30 percent.

"QSRs are embracing mobile apps to provide consumers with faster and more convenient ordering options," Bill Aurnhammer, founder/CEO of Aurnhammer, told Mobile Commerce Daily. "Yet McDonald's is definitely a forerunner in the global competition."

Taco Bell's mobile payments initiative – which will be part of its smartphone app – is still under development. "As we look to our mobile app, we want to make sure it's as innovative and breakthrough as the other things we do at Taco Bell, so we're really doing a lot of testing right now to make that happen," Chris Brandt, chief marketing officer at Taco Bell, told Mobile Commerce Daily.

For more:
-See this Technomic blog
-See this Mobile Commerce Daily article
-See this Mobile Commerce Daily article

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