Next time you get a craving for Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos or Mexican pizza, you may be able to order them on your phone. The Irvine-based fast food chain has started testing mobile ordering at five locations in Orange County, and plans to expand the program later this year.
With the new system, you can place your order using an app on your smartphone and pay with your credit card or a gift card.
"With the popularity of millennials and smart phones, we saw this [mobile ordering] coming, and decided to build the ground work a couple of years ago for mobile," said Jeff Jenkins, mobile lead for Taco Bell. "Mobile is going to be the biggest sort of innovator, shake-up in the quick service industry since the drive-thru."
The new app allows you to customize your order with multiple add-ons listed on the screen. Say you want to add jalapenos to your Doritos Locos Taco? No problem.
"When you're in the drive-thru and there are three cars behind you, you can feel the pressure to order quickly. It's what we call menu board anxiety," said Jenkins. "This gives you the opportunity to do it on your own time."
Once you place your order, you can choose a location near you to pick it up. To guarantee your tacos are hot, a GPS locator is used to tell the kitchen if you're close, and when to start cooking.
When you get to the restaurant, you can choose to pick up your order in-store or go through the drive-thru, depending on which line is shorter.
Taco Bell began developing the app more than two years ago. During the current testing phase, select individuals are performing beta tests to identify possible kinks in the system.
There's also a rotate to order feature that allows you to access your most frequent past orders when you turn your phone sideways. And a "My Bell" section saves and populates all your favorite orders.
[This post has been updated Feb. 2, 2014 at 2:58 p.m. to include comments from Taco Bell.]
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