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Subway could open the door for mobile payments in fast food

Nov 28, 2013 Dave King

With millions of Americans owning smartphones, mobile payments are likely the future of completing transactions. Subway - the world's largest restaurant chain - recently took initiative and implemented electronic payments into stores, which could push other major fast food restaurants to make the move.

"Subway is the tip of the spear," Paydiant co-founder Chris Gardner told QSR Web. "Mobile is about to happen across the QSR industry. Retailers have realized consumers want to do stuff with mobile. A year from now, the big players - Subway, Taco Bell, Burger King, McDonald's - will all have some sort of mobile strategy."

Subway is expected to roll out its mobile application by the end of the year to include mobile payments, offers and loyalty.

When considering the implementation of mobile payments, restaurants should consider the benefits, including:

- Better loyalty programs
One of the biggest marketing tactics used by restaurants is loyalty programs. These initiatives help bring customers back after the first visit. With an electronic payment system, businesses no longer have to rely on traditional plastic cards for loyalty programs, as this can be implemented directly into the system, according to Open Forum.

"If businesses use technology to link a payment to their points or other loyalty programs then it adds value to the customer. This makes the customer want to return, which then increases revenue," Gene Signorini, vice president of mobile insights at Mobiquity, told the news source.

- Track customer trends
Another benefit that mobile payment systems offer businesses is the ability to track customer trends. For instance, Subway is able to track what type of subs sell best, which can better equip managers to control inventory. If meatball subs are the most popular, electronic payment systems allow the manager to keep more ingredients in stock so they never run out. As a result, businesses won't miss out on sales due to an inventory shortfall.

- Increase check out speed
There is nothing that will push customers away more than long lines and wait times. Businesses that struggle with this problem may want to consider mobile payment, as checkout times can decrease. Not only can this boost the chances of a customer returning, but it could also create additional profits. The more people a business is able to get through line, the more sales are made, which can translate into revenue.