Several dozen Subway franchises in Southern California are piloting a program that allows customers to text orders to the store from their cell phones. The initiative is facilitated through a program called Zingle, which collects texts made to a unique cell phone number at each store. It then sends a text reply with the order number and pickup time to the customers, and prints an order slip for the staff. A pre-ring component downloads the order to the POS so it can be rung up quickly when the customer arrives.
Advantages include not only convenience and no wait time for the customer, but also greater accuracy and more labor efficiency than with phoned orders, since line workers don’t have to take time to answer the phone. Early results also indicated greater order frequency by users and even the virtual elimination of fraudulent and unclaimed orders, since each text comes with a return phone number.
Subway had tried a text messaging program in the New York City market about a year ago, but it required customers to sign up first by providing a credit card number to which their future orders can be charged. That led to concerns over security and identity fraud associated with keeping credit card information on file at a unit.