ChowNow, one of a growing number of online restaurant delivery apps in the U.S., now works with Google Wallet. The app, which is available in over two dozen cities in the U.S. and Canada, is the first service already integrated with independent restaurants to bring both Google Wallet and Apple Pay to its users across the country.
Which app will reign supreme?
Last December, ChowNow announced it would support Apple Pay, which made the new virtual wallet service available to independent restaurants for the first time. In advance of its launch, Apple Pay partnered with large restaurant chains like McDonald's and Panera Bread; upon its launch, it was not immediately clear how Apple Pay could be useful to independent restaurants. Though it has been praised for its ease of use, Apple Pay has hit some hiccups since its inception.
Meanwhile, Google Wallet — which once led the mobile payment wallet market, but failed to convince early adopters not using Android phones — is almost unseen in the restaurant payment apps space. The only other major food delivery application to be integrated with Google Wallet is Eat24, a service owned by Yelp. Eat24 may also soon support Apple Pay, which would give ChowNow some competition. ChowNow also works with some Yelp customers to offer delivery and payment options.
It's a race to offer the most flexibility and greatest number of services with the most streamlined user experience, first.
OpenTable, the industry leading restaurant reservations app, will also partner with Apple Pay. However, OpenTable does not offer restaurant food delivery at this time, limiting use of the payment app to dine-in scenarios. Meanwhile, ChowNow supports take-out and delivery payment processes, and does not offer restaurant reservation software or the option to pay while dining in.
Seamless and GrubHub — the two services merged in 2013, but continue to operate independently — remain industry leaders in food delivery within major metropolitan areas, and while GrubHub supports Paypal, neither service supports Apple Pay or Google Wallet. Since Apple Pay is suffering from poor publicity, will frequent diners reconsider Google Wallet? So far, it's a race to see which app will offer the most flexibility and greatest number of services with the most streamlined user experience first. For now, download all the apps and fumble through each one to figure out what to use when.