Dunkin’ Donuts plans to debut mobile ordering technology that will allow customers to order and pre-pay for menu items via their smart devices and pick them up at their selected location.
The Canton, Mass.-based chain, a division of Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc., said during a recent presentation to investors that it will test the so-called “click-and-collect” technology during the fourth quarter and add the feature to its existing mobile app early next year.
Scott Hudler, Dunkin’ Brands Group’s vice president of global consumer engagement, said the platform would “speed up service and offer more convenience” to Dunkin’s customers.
Justin Drake, the brand’s public relations manager, added that in addition to benefits for the consumer, it also has the potential to streamline restaurant operations.
“For our guests, there's an opportunity to improve order accuracy and speed,” he said, “and our restaurants have an opportunity to improve throughout, which is something we're excited about.”
The company did not provide additional details on the platform’s user experience.
The move comes as many restaurant chains — including Taco Bell, BJ’s, Dickey’s, Subway, Sonic Drive-In and Applebee’s — are introducing or enhancing their mobile and online ordering services to appeal to time-starved, tech-savvy consumers.
Nineteen percent of shoppers currently use click-and-collect services, according to the “U.S. Seamless Retail Survey” report from Accenture earlier this year, and reports indicate the potential for more growth. In fact, a 2013 survey commissioned by Atlanta-based UPS found that 44 percent of consumers said they’d use such a service if their favorite brand offered it.
Dunkin’ Donuts’ mobile app, introduced in 2012, currently has 8.6 million downloads, and the brand’s DD Perks Rewards loyalty program surpassed 1.3 million members in August.
“We launched the app as a way to enhance our guests’ experience,” Drake said. “With the app, guests can easily find their nearest Dunkin’, use their phone to pay either in-store or in the drive-thru, claim special offers, and send mobile gifts [cards] to friends and family.”
Members of the DD Perks program earn points by using a registered Dunkin’ Donuts plastic gift card, or when they electronically use a registered card through their DD Mobile App. Accrued points can be used toward free beverages.
“The mobile experience will continue to be a key factor we consider as we launch new programs, app features, campaigns and partnerships,” Drake added.
The company also said it was considering adoption of the highly-publicized Apple Pay service. The digital wallet, introduced by Apple last month, stores users’ debit and credit card information and electronically initiates secure payments between contactless payment terminals and shoppers’ Apple devices. McDonald’s, Subway and Panera Bread were among the restaurant chains that were early adopters of the technology.
“We are very encouraged by the innovation taking place in the mobile payments space,” Drake said. “Anything that brings greater adoption of secure mobile payments is good for the industry.”
Dunkin’ Donuts has more than 7,500 restaurants in the United States.