Merchant Innovation

Waze Jumps Into Order Ahead

Waze has already helped millions get to their destinations on time.  Now the traffic navigation act is looking to do users one better — and help them get their meals on time as well.

Adding on to a feature that already shows users local fast-food buying opportunities, Waze is now bringing to the app the ability to order ahead at some of the shops it features.

Waze — which is owned by Google — will make it possible to get coffee and other items from Dunkin’ Donuts on the go, a tie-in that is the first of its kind for Waze but one that will certainly not be its last.

If the trial run with Dunkin’ Donuts works out, the next phase of the plan involves other merchants to which Waze can offer access to its millions of users.

And the order-ahead possibilities through Waze aren’t limited to food — users might be able to look to a future where they can reserve parking spaces, fill prescriptions and even buy groceries without having to open another app on their phones.

“It could be almost anything that a driver could order ahead and have ready for pick up,” said Jordan Grossman, head of Waze’s business partnerships in North America.

Dunkin’ Donuts has its own rather popular app which already features order ahead — but according to Scott Hudler, chief digital officer for Dunkin’ Brands, Waze is a natural fit for their brand.

“Waze involves the ritualistic behavior of driving to work on your daily commute, and we are a brand built on a ritual, too,” he said.

Drivers using Waze’s order ahead option will need the Dunkin’ Donuts app and to register for the brand loyalty program — though they will not have to open the app.

This is not quite Waze’s first foray into offering more than the fastest route to its users — in Israel and San Francisco, the service also offers a carpooling feature that pays drivers to pick up passengers headed in the same direction.

Waze will also offer the carpooling option in Brazil later this year — and some have speculated that it could start eating into Uber and Lyft’s ridesharing market if the service takes off.

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