Why are all the fast food restaurant apps updating non-stop?

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Couponing is back in style -- digitally, that is

If you’re a fast foodie and it seems like every time you open one of your restaurant apps you find it wants to be updated, welcome to the long line of changes that could be coming in the consumer drive-in lane.

And we need to get used to it, too. Once word was on the street that Chipotle generates over $3 billion in digital sales, one chain after another is making digital their point of emphasis.

Take KFC, for example. Recently, its apps started sporting a new “Special Offers” tab, something it hopes to use to catch an eyeball the moment the app is opened. To jumpstart the feature, the company is drumming up an eight-piece box for $10 digital-only deal (45% off). The deal also includes eight pieces of Extra Crispy Tenders.

The takeaway here is that couponing has come back in style, and the generations that never cut coupons out of newspapers growing up are the target. Recently, Gartner Research found that nearly 50% of Gen Z & Millennials are utilizing digital tools to track coupons. 

Ronald says app users will be treated royally

McDonalds’ app is in for a major overhaul, too. The chain has upgraded its app to nudge more diners into ordering ahead on their phone. And those diners who do might get treated better, too.

According to Nation’s Restaurant News, McDonald’s recently blasted out an update to loyalty members urging them to “order like a VIP” – meaning order ahead – touting all the good stuff that will come their way if they do.

The main plus is quicker service. Or, as the company said, “Because we’ll prep while you’re on the way.”

Placing an order in advance is supposed to allow Ronald’s customers to order table service -- yes, they'll actually bring your food to your table! -- without standing in line or skip lines outside by choosing curbside. To sweeten the deal, the company also added a way for diners to get free food rewards when they order ahead on mobile.

Note: the feature is still rolling out and may not be at all McDonald’s locations, yet. And count Ronald in on digital couponing, as well.

“Digital couponing and value are up significantly year-over-year. Our new platform allows us more flexibility in targeted promotions and the ability to generate customized options for people who use our app,” the CMO of KFC, Nick Chavez, said recently.

“We want to make sure people get the app not only to order ahead, customize, use Quick Pickup, get delivery, but also to make sure they can find a great deal every single day.”

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