Now Burger King wants to replace your wallet with phone, and attract younger consumers

Last year we reported about how Burger King is staying at the top of Mobile Payments and is doing pilots. Burger King had introduced a mobile payment service for its fast food chain in 2012 with Firethorn Mobile Inc.

Now they are coming up with an application that will allow customers to pay for Whoppers with their smartphones as it races rivals to woo younger diners reports Bloomberg.

The program will be introduced next month and should be in all of Burger King’s more than 7,000 U.S. locations in a few months, Bryson Thornton, a spokesman for the company, said in an e-mailed statement, reported Bloomberg. The option to order food and drinks ahead of time for later in-store pickup may be added, he said.

Fast-food chains including McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) and Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. (DNKN) are competing to quickly introduce the best loyalty programs and smartphone apps to try to attract millennials and teens. McDonald’s last year said it was testing coupon and mobile-payment apps at some of its U.S. locations. Dunkin’ Donutsrolled out a rewards programs to all of its domestic shops in January.

I don’t think there is a clear leader, Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Chicago-based Technomic Inc., said in a phone interview, reported Bloomberg.

Burger King’s app, developed by Tillster Inc., will give customers coupons for deals, such as $1 any-size drinks and free fries, as well as nutrition facts. To pay with mobile phones, users can load value onto a virtual card within the app.

Burger King Worldwide Inc.’s app was developed by Tillster Inc. Mobile ordering and payment apps appeal to millennial diners -- those 18 to 35 years old, Tristano said.

Wallet Replacement

What younger consumers are looking for is the ability to use their phones to do everything, he said. The cell phone has replaced the wallet.

About 19 percent of American consumers had recently used a mobile device to make a restaurant pickup or delivery order, according to a 2012 study from Technomic. That will probably increase as younger generations age, the researcher said.

At Lets Talk Payments we believe that merchants/retailers/restaurants have a very good chance at making successful mobile payments and wallet offerings in the market and the case in point being Starbucks and Uber. Those who own the Commerce experience and integrate payments, loyalty, offers in a frictionless and seamless fashion will win.

McDonald’s, the largest U.S. burger chain, said in December that it was testing a smartphone app, called McD, at 1,000 U.S. stores. The trial app, created by Palo Alto, California-based Mowingo Inc., sent customers deals and discounts to redeem with their phones at participating stores.

Burger King has been trying to boost same-storesales with new foods, including a Big King burger, and discounts such as a two-sandwiches-for-$5 deal. Sales at U.S. and Canadian restaurants open at least 13 months rose 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter, after dropping in the previous three quarters.