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Better late than never.

Mike Pomranz
April 17, 2018

In the world of coffee chains, the pecking order is pretty much Starbucks, then everyone else. Dunkin’ Donuts would probably be second in that discussion (assuming you set McDonald’s aside as a burger joint). And after that, things taper off pretty quickly. But that doesn’t mean that smaller chains don’t have to keep up with the Joneses, and today, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has announced its launching pay ahead mobile ordering at all of its 191 company-owned Southern California and Arizona locations.

Admittedly, this new mobile ordering launch is a bit of a belated and slow start for the Los Angeles-based coffee and tea brand. Starbucks introduced the option to pay from your phone and skip the line nationwide back in 2015; Dunkin’ Donuts did the same thing in 2016. Meanwhile, 191 locations is only a fraction of the over 1,200 cafes The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf operates around the world—with the chain suggesting that franchise locations and other areas will begin getting mobile ordering later this year.

Still, better late than never: As Nation’s Restaurant News points out, mobile app payments at restaurants have jumped 50 percent in the past year. “Providing the ability to easily order food from a restaurant is no longer a nice-to-have, it is a need-to-have,” Warren Solochek of market research company The NPD Group recently said, helping to explain why brands like The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf keep jumping on this popular bandwagon.

For those looking to use The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s new mobile ordering and skip the line features, they can be found in the existing The Coffee Bean Rewards app. The chain also says that customers who order ahead will receive unique discounts and earn rewards points. Additionally, the app is integrated with Uber so not only can you now order and pay for your drinks through the app, you can also use it to quickly hail a ride to your location of choice.

“The mobile ordering feature offers convenience, flexibility and plenty of rewards,” said The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s Senior Vice President of Operations Aidan Hay. “We know our guests are going to love it.” They know that because coffee customers are already loving it elsewhere.

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