Vietnam, 19 July 2017As more people turn to their mobile phones to order food and drinks on the go, retailers are adapting their stores and operations to meet growing demand.

Mobile ordering has become the next iteration after the quick-service restaurant drive-thru lane to provide speed and convenience for customers. In 2015, mobile ordering comprised 1.5 percent of quick-service restaurant sales at under $4 billion. That volume is expected to rise to 11 percent to $38 billion by 2020.

“With anything that people want to get quickly, and there’s a queue involved, it makes sense that customers will want a mobile ordering option,” says James Cook, Americas Director of Retail Research at JLL.

Here’s how it works, using Dunkin’ Donuts as an example: Customers download the Dunkin’ Donuts mobile app. They then open Waze, a navigation app for their phone, and locate the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts. Tapping the Dunkin’ Donuts icon within Waze allows customers to place and pay for their order and then pick it up at a dedicated counter when they arrive to Dunkin’ Donuts.

Meeting demand

As mobile ordering becomes more popular, retailers are rethinking how they can accommodate their ‘grab and go’ customers to avoid long waits and crowded pickup stations.

“The key is in the details of getting it right,” says Cook. One of his favorite examples of a store getting it right is Chick-fil-A. “What I like so much about the Chick-fil-A app is that it uses GPS. You place your order in advance, and when you get on the premises, it knows you’re there. That’s when they start making your order so that when you get it, it’s still fresh.”

At peak times, however, catering for both mobile and walk-up customers can prove tricky both in terms of getting customers their drinks in a timely manner and managing store space.


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