Wendy's, Mobile Payment Moments Need To Be One-Touch Easy

I love Wendy's Dave's Hot 'n Juicy 3/4 lb Triple burger as much as the next Neanderthal, especially after riding 50 miles in the rain. And I love mobile payments because while I often leave my wallet at home, I'm Strava-ing the ride so I always have my phone.

Now while Wendy's mobile payments app has the potential to make it easier to eat burgers on the road, it's getting bashed in the app store. And it has one more annoying problem that I'd like to focus on here: I have to read off a six-digit code for a counter clerk to enter to make it work. While reading off a code to inhale a burger when starving may not sound like much, it's harder than swiping a debit card, so it ain't easy enough.

In our research for The Mobile Mind Shift, we found that what matters most is delivering a great mobile moment -- a point in time and space when someone pulls out a mobile device to get something they want in their immediate context. Getting the mobile moment right is critical to being present in the small and important moments in your customers' lives. Two principles define a great mobile moment:

  1. Deliver huge customer benefit and value to the firm. If the moment isn't hugely beneficial to a consumer, then the mobile moment won't exist at all. The app must do something truly useful it won't earn a place on the screen.
  2. Use context to make it one-touch easy. Use physical and personal context to anticipate your customer's next most likely action and make it available through a single gesture. That means firms like Wendy's must marshal all their resources -- including the complex payment ecosystem and the point-of-sale systems -- to deliver a great and simple service in that mobile moment . . . with no extra steps. Uber is the poster child for one-touch easy. So is Starbucks. And Dunkin' Donuts.

So dear Wendy's, as much as I love Dave's triple burger, reading off that pesky code is just annoying enough for me to keep my phone in my pocket.



Ted - we chose the path we did for two reasons.

First, the 6-digit code works in a drive through window, where most of our sales happen. A bar-code doesn't. Think rain, piles if broken smartphones on the pavement, workers holding your expensive smartphone to find the right angle on the scanner.

Second, it's temporary. Because it's temporary, we didn't think it wise to outfit 6,000 restaurants with scanners, NFC, or some other transient technology that would be obsolete in the near future. Any sort of code/barcode/QR/whatever isn't needed, ultimately. We're using the code until the tech catches up to where we want to be -- using geo-aware technologies (think Apple iBeacon) to make connections between a smartphone and our POS seamless and painless. We're testing systems of this nature now.

If you're interested to know more, glad to talk.

--Brandon Rhoten, VP of Digital at Wendy's

Arizona Wendy's employees still don't know what to do with Mobil

Mr. Rhoten: I have been a Wendy's customer for decades and live near a very nice franchise in Sedona, Arizona. But I have had the experience -- TWICE NOW -- where I tell the clerk that I want to pay with my mobile app. But what I get in return is a blank stare, followed by "we aren't set up to do that here." I have been told this by the young rookie clierk as well as by the senior staff who walked over to assist.

I have email chains with your regional representative, Cheng Chiv, on this issue. After it happened the first time, he responsed to me and said the staff was now trained. A month later, it happened again, and he replied that he honestly has no excuse for why this keeps happening.

I have $25 on account on my Wendys payment app and I fear now that I will never get it back. At the very least, why don't you give me the option of purchasing gift certificates thru the App so that I can hopefully recoup my losses.

Mobile Pay

Debra- so sorry about this! Pls send your details to digital@wendys.com. We'll get you whole (and then some) and reach out to the restaurant directly!

thanks, will email you separately

Thanks for the quick reply, Brandon. I will email you separately by from my gmail address.