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Chipotle Is “Experimenting With Mobile Payments”

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And it’s a proposed $10 million experiment too

Fast-food burrito chain Chipotle is planning to redesign its entire technology network, adding mobile payments to its ordering app in the process. The revamp is set to cost a whopping $10 million, but it’s a decision that Chipotle are standing firm behind.

During an earnings call last week, Chipotle CFO John Hartung said “we are experimenting with mobile payments, and we have kind of a rough version right now that our employees are able to use.” The reforms will be made by adding new equipment to its many restaurants, akin to how Starbucks implemented Square into its stores.

The new app will enable mobile payments through a barcode scan or a Bluetooth connection – which seems to be the steadily-growing popular new method of payment. Chipotle’s desire is to speed up transaction processing and reduce the reliance on handing back and forth cash and credit cards in its outlets – perhaps at the benefit of those going between the kitchen and the tills.

“The primary benefits are customer convenience and allowing people to engage with us in another way,” said Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold in an e-mail to Bloomberg Businessweek. “We’ll also be able to push offers or other messages to app users, which could certainly be a useful retention tool.”

One interesting point brought up by Chipotle CEO Steve Ells is that Chipotle aren’t just “chasing the latest technology gimmick,” instead wanting to invest in technology that has “the potential of slowing down throughput,” which we put down to meaning the amount of physical cash and receipts etc. needed.

Currently the Chipotle app has been downloaded 3 million times since its release in 2009, and already allows for pre-orders and payments, but enabling mobile payments in-app will mean those entering stores can pay easily in-store while ordering through their phones.

Do you think Chipotle is doing the right thing by embracing mobile payments?


[Image: SmellsLikeCactus - Flickr]

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