When fast-food chain KFC (NYSE:YUM) launched the test of a mobile ordering app in the U.K. in March, the chain expected that more of its app users would order through the app than that of its sister chain Pizza Hut, where about 40 percent ordered. The actual KFC results? Some 90 percent of app users actually ordered, according to Mobile Commerce Daily.
The difference may simply come down to the difference between pizza and fried chicken—pizzas take longer to cook and are typically delivered to a home or office, while chicken is frequently picked up on the fly. At KFC, the chicken order isn't actually prepared in advance, but when the customer checks in at the store through the app, the order is given high priority. Customers already in the store can flash a QR code at a kiosk to avoid waiting in line.
The app can also be used to pay for the order. In fact, the order won't actually be prepared until it's paid for and the customer has arrived—or at least almost arrived—at the restaurant.
Why not? KFC found in an earlier test in Australia that starting early on orders just didn't work. "All that happened was that the customer got there early and the food wasn't ready. Or the opposite and their food is getting cold," KFC U.K. IT Director Paul Borrett told StorefrontBacktalk in March, adding that some managers then felt the need to throw the food out and prepare new hot food, which delayed the customer even more.
At the ten U.K. locations where mobile order-and-pay has been rolled out, the system has reportedly cut ordering and waiting time, and reduced in-store lines by 60 to 70 percent. Another advantage: More than a third of the app's users were under 30 years old, a group that KFC believes has drifted away from traditional fast food. Earlier this month, KFC opened a fast-casual restaurant in Louisville, Ky., called "KFC eleven" that is also aimed at those 20-somethings.
- See this Mobile Commerce Daily story
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