Fast Feeders Moving Slowly Into Mobile Payments and Ordering

Consumers can now make almost any sort of transaction from their mobile phones — except buy a burger and fries.

Fast food has routinely lagged behind other industries in tapping the ever-present smartphone, with moves largely limited to paid ads and apps with store locators and nutritional information. But that’s starting to change.

McDonald’s, the biggest chain by sales, two weeks ago confirmed it was testing mobile payments in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas. (It’s been testing mobile payments overseas for a while.) The U.S. test includes mobile ordering, with customers able to pick up food in stores, curbside or at the drive-thru, as well as promotions and a loyalty program. KFC, Burger King and Wendy’s are also experimenting with mobile ordering on limited bases, and Jamba Juice is working to broaden the availability of its mobile-payment app.

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