Sonic Serves Up Mobile Order And Pay

by Raymond Pucci 0

payments

Add Sonic to the list of Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) that are adding a mobile pay app as a sales order enabler. As the following article reports, the fast food burger chain is rolling out the technology tool on a market-by-market basis now, with national availability by late summer.

Sonic Corp. is expanding its mobile-app order-ahead technology, launched in its first full-market test earlier this month, and expects to have it systemwide by late summer, executives said Tuesday. “We have the opportunity to really change the definition of convenience in the industry,” said Clifford Hudson, president and CEO of the Oklahoma City-based company, in a second-quarter earnings call with analysts.

The restaurant “has historically relied almost completely on a real estate framework and the question of physical locations across the market in order to provide the most convenient access for consumers,” Hudson said

But with the new order-ahead technology that customers can access anywhere in reasonable proximity to a sonic restaurant, Hudson said: “Everything is in their hands quite literally.” One analyst said Sonic’s early tests of the order-ahead process had gone well.

“Following a successful pilot test in a few stores in Oklahoma City, Sonic expanded to a full-market test three weeks ago (20-plus store market) with solid initial results,” said Alexander Slagle, an analyst with Jeffries, in a note Wednesday. “The company anticipates rolling out to an additional two to three-plus markets in April, and if they continue to see success on a number of metrics (ops execution, technology scaling, customer acquisition and delivering incremental sales), expect national rollout by August.”

The big burger joints have mostly been late to the mobile order and pay party that has gained widespread customer acceptance, led by big coffee and pizza shop chains. McDonald’s in recent months has gone digital in big way, and mobile ordering is a major part of their technology enhancements to drive customer traffic. It will soon be rare to find a QSR that does not support mobile ordering, so the types of integrated features offered will set the competitive bar.

Overview by Raymond Pucci, Associate Director, Research Services at Mercator Advisory Group

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