Chick-fil-A’s restaurants have become so busy the brand is going to start serving customers who aren’t even in line. The chain announced Thursday it’s launching “dine-in mobile ordering” as a new option via its app. Guests can now order while sitting at a table in the restaurant—something Chick-fil-A began testing in 2018 at 80 restaurants in Tampa, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; San Francisco; and Silicon Valley, California.

Chick-fil-A said internal research showed 92 percent of customers found the service appealing due to ease and convenience, leading to its national rollout.

Diners accessing the platform skip the counter and grab a table, open the app, and place a “dine-in” order. They then tap their smartphone to a table number and an employee brings the meal over when it’s ready.

Another feature is the ability for customers to order additional menu items throughout their visit, like a dessert or milkshake after the meal, which should unlock add-on opportunities for Chick-fil-A and drive check.

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“So many of our customers’ busy lives and commitments have them strapped for time,” said Khalilah Cooper, the brand’s director of service and hospitality. “Dine-in mobile ordering is one way we can help them get a quick, yet high quality meal.”

“This technology will be particularly helpful for busy restaurants who can now head straight into the restaurant and have their meal brought to their table at their convenience, without waiting in line,” she added.

Chick-fil-A integrated Near Field Communication technology into the table numbers, it said, which enables guests to tap their phone on the table number to check in. During tests, as Cooper noted, large parties and families with children in particular found the platform appealing.

“As we continue to grow and evolve Chick-fil-A’s digital experience, we’re focused on how the design of the physical restaurant environment can make the ordering and meal fulfillment journey even more seamless and enjoyable for our guests,” Cooper said.

The service is an app download driver, too. Customers earn Chick-fil-A One points toward rewards when they use dine-in mobile ordering. And they can’t access the convenience without it.

Cooper told QSR recently that Chick-fil-A views all of its ordering touchpoints through the lens of guest experience, and this one is no different.

“Each of our occasions, we want our customers to think of CFA as a place that they can go and they know they’re going to be taken care of, they know it’s going to be fast but that the food will be great, the service will be efficient, and they will have genuine hospitality and a team member who is there to take care of them,” she said. “Even just those small moments, regardless of what channels are customers choose to engage with us, can really make the difference in a day.”

Cooper added that Chick-fil-A was open to future tech options.

“Even just the prospective of AI has shifted over the last two years. … As customers expectations and needs change and evolve, and their comfort level with certain technology increases, we want to be flexible to be able to meet them where they are and exceed their expectations,” she said. “We do look at bringing that human element out in conjunction with the technology and not as a replacement.”

Fast Food, Story, Technology, Chick-fil-A