Now you can order and pay for Subway in Facebook Messenger

You can order this through Facebook Messenger

Image: Hoskins/ANL/REX/Shutterstock

Six-inch, foot long, toasted bread or multi-grain, you can now order it all and pay for it through Facebook Messenger.

Subway and partner MasterCard announced this week the immediate availability of a Subway ordering chat bot for Facebook Messenger — one of several mobile payment-enabled food-based chatbots, including ones for Fresh Direct and The Cheesecake Factory.

With the new chat bot, Facebook Messenger users can construct their perfect Subway sandwich and complete the order with MasterCard’s Masterpass. 

In a press conference on the news, MasterCard said that the chat bot was made to communicate with consumers “like a friend” and in an “authentic manner.” 

During the canned demo we saw, the bot asked questions like “Wanna get toasty?” and, in shifting to the cheese selection portion of the order, said: “Let’s get cheesy.”

Okay, authentic may be a relative term.

But the business reasons for inserting fast-food chat bots into Messenger are sound. Facebook Messenger currently has 1.2 billion users. People would rather chat than use fast food chain apps. Now they can create the sandwich and complete the order while still inside Messenger.

Fresh Direct, whose chat bot will arrive later this year, noted that they’ve seen mobile usage increase 42 percent year-over-year. “In absence of physical stores, bots allow us to provide the Fresh Direct tone in a high touch format,” said a Fresh Direct spokesperson.

MasterCard chose to start with food service partners for Masterpass integration because traditional retail, with its multitudes of different departments and products options is, for now, too complex for the chat bot environment.

While you can engage in a lengthy conversation with the Chat Bot about your sandwich choices, MasterCard noted that, if you have a regular order, it could eventually be boiled down into an emoji. Think about how fast you could get your Subway then.

The platform also supports group messaging orders and will even help group chat members split up the bill.

There are some caveats. The Masterpass app still requires that users put in a password for every transaction. There isn’t even an option for biometric password entry (thumbprint, iris, face). MasterCard says they’re working on that.

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