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In a flash, service guarantees become Next Big Thing

buffalo wild wings fast break lunch

In the course of a day, service-time guarantees have become the restaurant industry’s shiny new thing.

Pizza Hut announced this morning that it is adding a digital feature that allows customers to see how long they’d have to wait for a delivered or takeout meal before entering the order via a smartphone or computer. 

Buffalo Wild Wings revealed last night that it’s testing a serving-time guarantee as an enhancement to its Fast Break lunch offer, and Chipotle said it’s experimenting with a way to give customers the precise time a pickup order will be ready.

Only Pizza Hut has aired details of its program. Patrons who want to eat outside the restaurant can see how long they’d have to wait for a takeout order from several Pizza Huts in the area. If they opt for delivery, they will be given a 10-minute window for the meal’s arrival.

The chain noted that the technology computes the serving time on the basis of how many orders are being fielded by a restaurant, how many delivery drivers are available, and what drive times have been like in that area.

It did not reveal what happens if the meal isn’t in customers’ hands by the promised time. The announcement notes that the set time is merely an estimate, yet the service is called Visible Promise Time.

Buffalo Wild Wings has yet to reveal what cap it will put on the serving time for orders from its Fast Break menu, or what happens if the guarantee isn’t met. The special bill of fare enables customers to pick and choose what they’d like for lunch. It was introduced last year with assurances that the meal would take less than 45 minutes.

Like Pizza Hut, Chipotle intends to factor a restaurant’s volume of orders into the determination of when a takeout order would be ready.

It did not disclose any additional details about the program.

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