YO! Taco Bell’s new iPhone app is the future of fast food

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Photo: Taco Bell
Photo: Taco Bell

What if you could skip the late-night line at Taco Bell by ordering from your phone? It would be Doritos Locos heaven.

Taco Bell is trying to reinvent the drive-through with a new mobile app released today for iOS and Android. The entire Taco Bell menu is available inside the app, with all the customization options you can get in-person (and some app-exclusive food items coming in the future). Most importantly, you can place orders from anywhere and have them ready when you arrive.

“Decades ago, your car keys were the ticket to convenience at the drive-thru. Today as food culture changes and generations grow up with smart phones, our customers seek restaurant experiences that fit their lifestyle,” said Brian Niccol, president of Taco Bell, in a press release. “We believe mobile ordering and payment is the biggest innovation since the drive-thru. Our new mobile ordering app is just the beginning of how we’re using technology to break down the walls of our restaurants and become more transparent with our customers about our food.”

Instead of integrating with Apple Pay, Taco Bell requires app users to add their credit cards for payment processing. While considerably less secure, the decision likely has something to do with making the app available on iOS and Android. It also gives Taco Bell a valuable database of cards on file, which it can use to track spending habits in the app.

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Once you place an order in the Taco Bell app, it’s queued up and ready to go. But the catch is that it won’t be prepared until your phone gets within 500 feet of a restaurant location. You’ll get a push notification to check in, the food prep will start, and you can pick up your order inside or at the drive-through.

The app has some other bells and whistles, including a “Rotate to Reorder” feature that helps you quickly order favorite menu items. Whether the app will prove useful beyond die-hard Taco Bell fans remains to be seen, as its only most obvious clear benefit is the ability to skip the line.

The new Taco Bell mobile app is available now in the App Store and from Google Play.