The Pros And Cons Of Ordering From A Fast Food Mobile App

There's an app for everything, but is your fast food experience better or worse on your phone?

Between the constant promotions and exclusive deals for app users, it's obvious that fast food chains are desperate for customers to use their proprietary apps. The deals are wonderful, especially in a time where food prices keep surging, but like everything else in the world, ordering from mobile fast food apps is not a perfect process.

As convenient as it can be to place an order on a fast food chain's app, there are some pitfalls to the experience. Consider these pros and cons before you place your next order.

Pro: Take your time ordering

If you want a cheeseburger and fries from Burger King, McDonald's, Wendy's, or Sonic it won't be difficult to find it on the chain's mobile app. But sometimes, we just aren't sure what we want. Yes, a cheeseburger and fries sounds great, but then again what about chicken nuggets? Or maybe Taco Bell finally brought back the Mexican pizza and you cannot pass up this opportunity.


Meanwhile, if you're mulling all this over in the drive-thru line or in front of the cashier, you've likely made enemies of the people behind you. The bright side to ordering via an app is that you can peruse the menu until your indecisive heart's content.

Pro: No embarrassment about customizing 

I've often mentioned how hesitant I am to customize a fast food order. Part of that is a fear the cashier will look at me confused and say they don't do whatever it is I am asking for, in which case I would have to crawl away in shame.


At least with most mobile apps, you have the ability to customize your order by simply clicking a plus or minus to add or remove toppings. If that's not an option, there's also usually a box for you to add a note to detail any special requests. And when it's written out, it's more likely to be customized correctly with less room for miscommunication with a cashier.

Pro: Receive your order in a timely manner

Depending on how you go about placing your mobile app order, you could time out your journey so that your food is ready right when you walk through the door. For example, if you order and you live 10 minutes away from the fast food restaurant, you might want to take your time grabbing your coat and keys so that by the time you arrive your food is ready to go.


Con: The reliability

Unfortunately, this pro does have one caveat. Though the app might estimate how long it will take for your order to be ready, life is unpredictable and you may show up on time to find your order still needs a few minutes.


Con: The data grab

As with downloading any mobile app nowadays, you'll have to sacrifice some "private" information to a fast food mobile app. Information like your email address, your cell phone number, and your name are pretty standard and necessary to get what you want from a food ordering app.


Also, if you're extra reluctant to allow your mobile apps to track your location, then mobile food ordering is definitely not for you. Turning on location services is an essential part of ordering on a fast food mobile app.

Con: No room for human error

I learned my lesson the hard way with the Starbucks mobile app. When you order on a mobile app there is absolutely no room for mistakes on your part. Order the wrong size drink? Did you forget to say no onions on your sandwich? Or, in my sad experience, did you send your order to the wrong location? Well, that's just too damn bad. Once that mobile app order is placed there's no going back.


Perhaps this a feature that could be improved upon, but for now, be very careful when placing your mobile fast food orders.