I wouldn't consider myself a Taco Bell customer, but given my interest in Square Order, I had to give the new mobile ordering functionality a test run. The app is extremely well designed and provides a thorough overview of locations, menu items and personalization features (see screenshots below).
Once the customer has chosen food items and clicked through to checkout, the customer is required to input their credit card for checkout. Apple Pay is currently not included as an option. Once complete, the customer is alerted of the closest location for pickup and sent an email detailing the order.
Once the customer is in close proximity to the store or ready to pickup the order, the customer alerts the app of in-store or drive-thru pickup. The customer is then provided with a pickup number. In the test I ran, the order was ready for pickup in just a few minutes.
Overall, the experience was seamless and definitely a service I would consider using if purchasing from Taco Bell. With that said, I felt the Square Order experience that uses beacons/wifi to gauge the customer's proximity to the store provided an even better experience. Saving a few clicks is always appreciated.
Given the news of Starbucks launching mobile ordering, fast casual is clearly ahead of retailers in providing seamless, on-demand, self-sufficient experiences that are becoming required in the ever connected mobile world.