Chipotle Spices Up Its Mobile Order and Pay Options

November 10, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

For a while there, things were not looking good for Chipotle. With sales declining and the food potentially tainted—even “South Park” laid into it with its “Chipotlaway” parody—it was starting to look like Chipotle would prove the first major failed fast food brand in some time. However, it turned things around, and now the company’s stepping up improvements still further with some new options coming to its mobile order ahead and mobile pay operations.

Some major changes landed for the Chipotle mobile front recently, including new access to coupon offers available via the app, as well as the ability to quickly reorder past meals. Even better, new mobile payment options—including Android Pay and Apple Pay—are also on tap at the quick-service restaurant. Customers can even place advance orders and pick up said orders via a special line, which makes the whole process that much faster and easier to work with.

Chipotle’s increasingly mobile push isn’t a recent phenomenon; we’ve been following Chipotle’s extensive build-out of mobile features for some time, as the company not only bolstered its own operations but set up new partnerships to spur same onward. October saw Chipotle hook up with Facebook in the latter’s “Order Food” feature.

However, the impact of this may not be as pronounced as Chipotle might like. With several other quick-service restaurants stepping up mobile—Italian chain Fazoli’s recently brought out an app with mobile order-ahead and loyalty program functions, and Amazon recently brought out Amazon Restaurants as a way to get more restaurants to take Amazon Pay seriously—such tools are becoming increasingly commonplace.

Indeed, we’re looking at a time when mobile order-ahead and mobile payments at restaurants aren’t the fancy, cutting-edge option of tomorrow. We’re looking at a time when these are table stakes, expected just to even try to compete. It’s not that restaurants won’t take cash any more, but rather that mobile order-ahead with mobile payments will be an additional part of the lineup.

That in turn may require further changes—Starbucks already showed us what happens when you mix the two without planning for the onslaught of extra orders—but it’s also clearly what customers increasingly want. Businesses that aren’t planning a similar approach may find themselves swamped by those that already have made plans.