Several restaurant chains are offering new smartphone apps to get users into their stores.
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is putting its “Hot Now” sign, which illuminates in the windows of stores when fresh doughnuts are coming off the line, in customers’ pockets with a new iPhone and Android app, as well as a desktop widget.
"Genuine engagement that is useful to our guests is key to our social media strategy,” Dwayne Chambers, Krispy Kreme’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement. "This unique Hot Light app is one more way we can share the one-of-a-kind Krispy Kreme experience with our fans."
Mark Logan, vice president of digital innovation at Barkley of Kansas City, Mo., which developed the Hot Light app, said, "If you're a fan of Krispy Kreme, you know how powerful that Hot Light is. It's such a strong brand icon. We wanted to find a way to extend its reach."
The app tracks when a participating U.S. Krispy Kreme shop has its “Hot Now” light turned on. App users can choose how often they'd like to receive notifications, or search for active “Hot Now” lights nearby.
“We are now able to connect Hot Lights in the U.S. Krispy Kreme system to the Internet and know when they are on or off, and we can deliver that information to Krispy Kreme fans — on the Web, on their smartphone and on Twitter,” Logan said.
The app can be downloaded for free at KrispyKreme.com/hotlightapp, or via Android Market and the iTunes Store.
Meanwhile, Chili’s Grill & Bar has expanded its location-based ordering app to the Android market.
The app, available for the iPhone since September, searches for store locations, offers driving directions, updates menus and provides online ordering.
“With the constant evolution of technology, our world continues to receive information and entertainment at the touch of our fingertips,” said Edithann Ramey, Chili’s senior director of marketing.