Mobile Fast Food Ordering Has Arrived

The blog MacRumors points out that quick service Mexican restaurant chain Chipotle has added iPhone ordering. The company already has online ordering but this is a progressive and forward-looking step that will boost loyalty and potentially store revenues. (Apple filed a patent application around mobile ordering like this.)

The sign-up process is quite lengthy and flawed in that respect. (For example it doesn't tell you you need an eight character password.) However the actual app is very nicely done and will likely be heavily used. Registration can also be done online.

In the sign-up the default setting is "send me special Chipotle offers and news." This means promotions/coupons may go to mobile phone numbers and/or email. This is also smart and potentially very effective to draw people into stores. Imagine an email that goes out at 11 a.m. offering some sort of coupon. I don't know whether the back end supports location targeting but, assuming it does, promotions could be targeted to specific geographic areas (i.e., w/in 5 minutes driving distance, etc.). There is also a store locator in the app. 

Chipotle may be ahead of the curve, but it's only a matter time before every major fast-food chain tries mobile ordering.