From Chipotle to Starbucks: 6 Chains That Do Mobile Apps Right


1. Chipotle

1 / 6

2. Starbucks

2 / 6

3. Dunkin' Donuts

3 / 6

4. Domino's

4 / 6

5. 7-Eleven

5 / 6

6. Jimmy John's

6 / 6
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Chipotle plans to invest $10 million in improving its technology network and its already popular app, the company announced last week. Chipotle is just one of many chains working to stay on the cutting edge of restaurant’s mobile app innovation.

Chipotle’s updated app would be similar to that currently in use at Starbucks to allow customers to make mobile payments from their phones. Mobile payments aim to make purchasing more convenient, speeding up Chipotle’s already fast process.

Chipotle’s speed is key to its growing success. In the fourth quarter, the company reportedly was able to process six more transactions per hour during its peak lunch rush and five more transactions per hour during the dinner peak. A revamped mobile app could be the key to continuing to speed up the process.

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Food chains across the board have focused on apps as a key area for innovation for ordering, paying and promotion. Chains such as Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and Domino’s allow customers are investing millions to stay on top of the app game. 

What sets it apart: Chipotle's current app allows you to cut the line by ordering ahead of time. Chipotle also has dabbled in the world of gaming, launching “Chipotle Scarecrow” to promote Chipotle’s advertisement of responsibly raised meat and fresh vegetables with a game that can earn all-star players a free burrito in stores.

Related: Chipotle Is Making a Dark Comedy Series About Industrial Farming. (Yes, Seriously.)

What sets it apart: Starbucks is the No. 1 downloaded app of all food and drink apps. Not only can you pay for your purchases, find stores and track rewards, you can also create custom drinks and get free Pick of the Week songs. Now, the chain is reportedly getting ready to allow customers to order coffee before they get to the store.  

What sets it apart: Dunkin’ Donuts app has many similar features to Starbucks, from paying for your order from your phone to providing the ability to give others virtual gift cards. However, the app’s emphasis on “offers,” in the form of mobile deals and coupons differentiates it from the coffee chain's app.

What sets it apart: As anyone who is too lazy to even pick up the phone and order pizza knows, Domino’s app is revolutionary in its simplicity. With "pizza profiles,” the app stores your order and information, which speeds up and simplifies the process of ordering your pizza. Domino’s also recently made it possible to order pizza using your car, pairing the app with Ford’s Sync AppLink system. 

Related: Is This the Year Fast-Food Pizza Disappears?

What sets it apart: 7-Eleven’s app is designed to be a home base for the convenience store regular, with a home screen that tells users the time, date and temperature in the area. However, more important for the customer is the extensive coverage of local and national deals, as well as special mobile-only coupons.

What sets it apart: Jimmy John’s mobile app allows for both delivery and pickup options – a huge plus for the sandwich chain. Plus, there's the option of ordering catered goods such as party platters, box lunches and party subs.

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