Burger King Testing App in Miami That Lets You Pay for Food Without a Cashier

Burger King Testing App in Miami That Lets You Pay for Food Without a Cashier
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Tim Horton's, the Canadian coffee-and-doughnuts chain, selected Miami to be a testing ground for a Burger King smartphone app that lets customers pay for their food without going through a cashier.

Since December, at least 25 Burger King locations, along with more than two dozen Tim Horton's spots in Ontario, have been testing the app, which is planned for launch this spring at both restaurant chains in more than 4,000 locations across Canada, the Canadian Press reported.

Although Burger King is located in Miami, its parent company, Restaurant Brands International, is based in Ontario and was created after the burger chain merged with Tim Horton's in 2014.

It's not clear if the app will be available at Miami BK locations. Burger King didn't immediately respond to calls and emails from New Times. However, the move is being seen as groundbreaking because Burger King would be the first major fast-food chain to allow customers to purchase and pick up their food without standing in line or handing money to a person behind the counter.

In the grander scheme of things, replacing a cashier with an app is seen as a larger move toward automation in the fast-food industry. It has happened at least twice in recent years.

Starbucks, along with Concordia Coffee Company, teamed up with Coinstar to install self-serve espresso kiosks at various U.S. locations. According to kioskmarketplace.com, 86 machines were installed in Albertson's grocery stores from Washington to Maryland. Starbucks also offers advance ordering and paying through its own app.

In 2015, McDonald's positioned self-serve kiosks at various U.S. locations.

It's part of a greater trend as consumers increasingly use apps to buy just about anything online, David Hardisty, an assistant professor at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia, told the Canadian Press. Hardisty compared the fast-food kiosks to ATMs but also noted there are still bank tellers to handle complicated transactions. "Stuff comes up that's just really hard for a completely automated system to handle," Hardisty told the Canadian Press.

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