The Wendy’s Co. has begun accepting mobile payments via its “My Wendy’s” smartphone app at the majority of its 5,800 U.S. units after testing the system last year, according to a report by the Associated Press.

The Dublin, Ohio-based chain’s announcement follows quick-service rival Burger King’s disclosure that mobile payments would be available at its more than 7,000 locations in the United States over the next few months. While hamburger segment leader McDonald’s and its franchisees have been testing several mobile platforms, the Oak Brook, Ill.-based chain has not yet announced a single mobile solution ready for systemwide deployment.

Wendy’s acceptance of mobile payments also follows another corporate initiative centered on increasing its reach on smartphones: last year’s “Pretzel Love Songs” video campaign, which reached millions of viewers via Facebook’s mobile app.

Brandon Rhoten, vice president of digital and social media at Wendy’s, told Nation’s Restaurant News that three-fourths of the 85 million people who viewed the online videos did so through the mobile platform. He added that 62 percent of the incremental audience gained from the campaign fell into the Millennial demographic between 18 and 34 years old.

Mobile-payment and mobile-ordering technology is top of mind across all segments of the industry, as seen in recent initiatives for Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and BJ’s Restaurants for smartphones, as well as tests and rollouts of at-table kiosks and tablets at casual-dining brands like Applebee’s, Chili’s and Buffalo Wild Wings.

Wendy’s operates or franchises more than 6,500 restaurants in the United States and 28 foreign markets.

Contact Mark Brandau at mark.brandau@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN