According to Nation's Restaurant News and confirmed by Taco Bell on Friday, the fast food chain plans to roll out mobile ordering later this year to all 6,000 locations, in a bid to shake-up the quick service restaurant segment.
A quick search through the Apple's (AAPL) App store shows that Taco Bell already has an app available, however customers currently cannot order through it.
According to the Feb. 10 article, the Irvine, Calif.-based chain began testing a mobile ordering app roughly two and a half years ago. More recently it began more specific location testing at five units in Orange County and plan to open it up to select consumers for further testing there.Fast-food chains are slowly getting on the bandwagon to mobile offerings. Big pizza chains like Papa John's (PZZA), Domino's (DPZ) and Pizza Hut, another Yum! Brands company, have been successful at showing customers a seamless experience and the ease of use at mobile ordering. Pizza Hut launched its smartphone app in 2009. Today, with digital orders representing about 40% of the brand's sales, mobile represents about half of the digital orders, spokesman Doug Terfehr told TheStreet on Friday. Customers can also offer Pizza Hut through their Xbox. Pizza Hut announced that deal with Microsoft (MSFT) last year. KFC customers near select U.K. stores can order through their smartphone, a separate search through the App store shows. A KFC spokesman did not return a request for comment. Taco Bell's mobile offering joins the likes of other fast-food chains getting into mobile offerings. Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) already offers mobile ordering. McDonald's (MCD), Chick-fil-A and Smashburger are also in the process of rolling out mobile ordering, the article says. Of course one cannot mention mobile and food without thinking of Starbucks (SBUX). CEO Howard Schultz did say that he wanted to focus his duties on "the convergence and integration of our retail and e-commerce, digital, card and mobile assets around the world," in an announcement last month citing management changes. Taco Bell is looking to target its primary demographic of young Millenials. "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 Nation's Restaurant News. "If you can get 10 million people to download your app, you're putting a portal to Taco Bell in 10 million pockets." -- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York. Follow @LKulikowski