Apple just scored a big victory for Apple Pay: Starbucks is officially on board, and will start allowing you to pay for your beverages & food with just a tap of your iPhone or Apple Watch at all 7,500 stores by next year.
But that’s not all: You’ll also be able to pay for a bucket of fried chicken with Apple Pay when the payment service comes to KFC by next spring, Apple Pay Vice President Jennifer Bailey announced at Re/code’s Code/Mobile conference on Thursday.
Bailey said KFC “has a special place in my heart, it was my first job ever” and that Apple is “seeing a lot of support for quick-service restaurants with a need for fast payment.”
It’s unclear if loyal Starbucks customers will earn rewards points on their purchases if they use Apple Pay instead of their Starbucks card to pay for coffee. Mr. Bailey declined to comment on the specifics at Code/Mobile, but we expect that issue will be cleared up before the widespread roll-out.
In an interesting twist, a sit-down restaurant is also part of the wave of new Apple Pay Partners: Chili’s plans to accept Apple Pay for tableside transactions by next spring.
Why is this important?
With Best Buy already supporting Apple Pay at all of its 1,400 stores and Target planning to accept Apple’s mobile payment service in-store sometime soon, it looks like Apple Pay is finally making headway. Recent reports indicate that the majority of Apple Pay-compatible device owners haven’t even attempted to use the service, but that could be because it’s not yet available in many of the places you shop. These partnerships, plus Apple’s work with Square on an Apple Pay-compatible reader for small businesses, could finally jump-start Apple Pay’s mainstream use.