News Feature | April 3, 2017

How Can I Place My Order? Let Me Count The Waze

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts Launches Mobile Order-Ahead Feature Using Waze App

Dunkin’ Donuts is launching a mobile order-ahead feature through Google’s Waze mapping and navigation application — the first time a retailer or brand has partnered with Waze to deliver that capability. Order Ahead is being offered to Dunkin' Donuts' DD Perks rewards club members, and it allows a customer to order and pay for a beverage or food before they arrive at a Dunkin' Donuts location, and then skip the line to pick up their purchase when they arrive.

The move marks a move into new territory for Google-owned Waze, which has already been successful in guiding millions of users to reach their destinations on time. The partnership with Dunkin’ Donuts adds on to an existing feature that shows users local fast-food buying options, with Waze now adding the ability to order ahead. If the Dunkin’ Donuts trial is successful, Waze will then roll out the capability to other merchants.

Rather than paying for the order-ahead feature outright, Dunkin’ Donuts agreed to increase its advertising spend with Waze, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Users of Order Ahead must first download the latest version of the Dunkin' Donuts mobile app, though the ordering occurs within the Waze app. Google only recently enabled this new feature in Waze, and likely will be using it to support order-ahead capabilities for many other types of merchants.

And while the trial is definitely food-based, the order-ahead possibilities include a wide range of products, from reserving parking spaces, to filling prescriptions, or even buying groceries, all through a single app at the touch of a button.

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

For Dunkin’ Donuts, Waze is a natural fit for their brand. Scott Hudler, chief digital officer for Dunkin’ Brands, asserted, “Waze involves the ritualistic behavior of driving to work on your daily commute, and we are a brand built on a ritual, too.”

Dunkin’ Donuts should be cautious, however, of the potential success of the app: When Seattle-based Starbucks’  Mobile Order & Pay feature was introduced, it became so popular that it’s clogging pick-up areas at Starbucks and forcing the company to consider revamping store layouts. The moral of the story is to prepare for the unexpected.