Taco Bell to roll out mobile ordering

Taco Bell is currently beta testing a new mobile app that allows customers to place orders from their smartphones.

The Irvine, Calif.-based quick-service chain began developing an app that allows customers to order ahead roughly two and a half years ago, according to Nation's Restaurant News. It plans to expand the test beyond its current five units in Orange County in coming weeks. Taco Bell anticipates rolling out the effort chain-wide later this year.

The app does a good deal more than simply place an order. It lets users find the closest restaurant, displays location-specific pricing and uses GPS to recognize when the person placing the order is close, ensuring the meal is hot when they arrive. It even offers to upsell the customer during the ordering process.

Mobile is a large part of retailers' and QSRs' efforts to reach young consumers. Millennials are accustomed to accomplishing most of what they need with a digital device. Reaching them through the smartphone is a direct way to their business.

"For these kids, it's not whether you have a smartphone; it's which smartphone do you have," Jeff Jenkins, mobile lead for Taco Bell told NRN. "Mobile is the biggest shift in QSR since the drive thru. If you can get 10 million people to download your app, you're putting a portal to Taco Bell in 10 million pockets."

For more:
-See this Nation's Restaurant News article

Related stories:
QSR's mobile games build loyalty
Dunkin' Donuts rolls out loyalty program linked to mobile app
Starbucks launches "Tweet-a-Coffee" in time for holiday gift-giving
Dunkin' Donuts upgrades mobile loyalty program
Dunkin' Donuts rivals Starbucks with new mobile payment app