While Chick-fil-A’s quick-service rivals are scrambling to win customers with third-party delivery, the Atlanta-based chicken chain is rolling out tableside technology designed for convenience inside the dining room.
The chain, which always earns high marks for customer service, launched dine-in mobile ordering systemwide today. The new feature, tested last year in 80 restaurants in Florida, Tennessee, Washington state and Northern California, allows dine-in guests to order without waiting in line at a drive-thru or cash register.
When guests enter a restaurant, they can place an order through the Chick-fil-A app. After completing the order, the guest taps his or her mobile device on a number displayed on the table. The magic of short-range wireless technology then comes into play as the order is paired to the table making it easy for an employee to delivery the meal to the guest.
“So many of our customers’ busy lives and commitments have them strapped for time,” Khalilah Cooper, Chick-fil-A director of service and hospitality, said in a statement. “This technology will be particularly helpful for busy parents who can now head straight into the restaurant and have their meal brought to their table at their convenience, without waiting in line.”
Tableside meal delivery is not new in the limited-service segment. McDonald's began table service a few years ago. Many fast-casual brands also deliver food to tables using a number system. The key difference at Chick-fil-A: the brand is giving customers the ability to skip the line and order directly from the app.
Chick-fil-A, which operates more than 2,400 restaurants in the U.S., has been experimenting with a variety of mobile ordering conveniences for dine-in customers.
Last year, Chick-fil-A expanded a partnership with Kallpod, a touch-button call service that allows dine-in customers to order more food after they’ve paid for their initial order at the counter. The technology features a three-button system with these requests: “I want the manager,” “I want service” and “I want to order something else.”
It’s unclear if the 20-store test is still in progress. When asked, Chick-fil-A did not return a request for comment on Kallpod.
Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @fastfoodmaven