Waze takes a small bite of the food business with ‘Order Ahead’ and Dunkin’ Donuts

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Waze is going to help you get your coffee, donuts and breakfast food constructions faster, with a new “Order Ahead” feature that lets you do exactly that: order Dunkin’ Donuts food ahead of time to pick up when you get to the restaurant. Dunkin’ calls itself the “first partner” for this Waze endeavor, meaning it’s likely to team up with other food providers if this works out.

Waze’s order ahead feature requires users to also have the updated version of the Dunkin’ mobile app on their iPhone or Android device, which connects in directly to the Waze app via its existing mobile ordering feature.

Why start with Dunkin’ Donuts? Well, Waze and the coffee/confection provider are old friends, it turns out – Waze mapped all of Dunkin’s dunk destinations (that’s what they call Dunkin’ Donuts store locations; or at least, that’s what I call them) within the app in 2012. Waze’s in-app favoriting native ad unit also started out with Dunkin’ Donuts as its first partner.

Ordering ahead via app has become a curse and a blessing for fellow coffee seller Starbucks, which is dealing with big changes to its retail model to handle the popularity of the feature. Tying it to navigation software the people are using already to get from place to place seems like a way to juice interest even further; I’m far more likely to decide that yes, I would actually like a coffee after all when I open up my navigation app and see it as an option.

It’s also another way Waze is doing a sly, indirect end-around on Uber; the Google-owned company’s Carpool is a ride-hailing competitor in certain, very specific circumstances, and Order Ahead could fit a similar niche in the realm of on-demand food, where UberEATS also operates.