Restaurants integrate with global smartphone apps

Though many restaurant chains recently have developed their own branded smartphone apps, recent integrations by several brands, from Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts to McDonald’s and Qdoba Mexican Grill, show that restaurants do not need to go it alone in mobile commerce.

Global mobile wallet applications like Apple’s Passbook — which is native to all new iPhone 5 handsets or older iPhones that upgrade to iOS 6 — as well as Square, Punchh, LevelUp or Key Ring, are signing up retailers and restaurants to capture business from users who are looking to consolidate their mobile payments and mobile loyalty programs from all their preferred shops into one app.

Qdoba Mexican Grill is one of many restaurant brands testing out an integration into these apps, in large part because a significant amount of its web traffic comes from mobile browsers, said Bree Thomas, director of digital and experiential marketing for the 600-plus-unit chain.

“The beginning of 2012 marked the first time smartphone sales exceeded sales for PCs,” Thomas said. “Customer service is important to us, so this is about meeting our guests’ expectations.” Read More