By Aimee Chanthadavong

As Hoyts works on making over its La Premiere cinemas with the installation of new seats, revising its menu and hiring professional kitchen staff, it is also trialling a new technology that could see it upgrade its in-cinema dining service.

In a global first, the QkR by MasterCard in-cinema smart ordering service will be piloted by the Commonwealth Bank at a number of Hoyts cinemas for several weeks from January.

QkR by Mastercard is a queue-busting mobile payment application developed by MasterCard that lets movie goers order food and drinks from their seats by using their smartphone.

Matthew Ezra, director retail, food and beverage, Hoyts Corporation, said the new technology was exactly what the company was after.

“Back in September we were looking at rebranding and relaunching our premium brand offer of La Premier. What we have always wanted to do was offer in-cinema dining but it has always been very hard for us to achieve that. But Mastercard and Commonwealth Bank came to us with a solution and we were very happy to trial this new technology,” he said.

Transactions are initiated when the consumer uses QkR by MasterCard to either scan the QR code on the seat table or use their NFC-enabled phones to initiate the experience. The food and beverage menu will launch and menu items can be purchased using the digital wallet the cardholder pre-registers with their debit or credit card details the first time they use QkR. Once the purchase is confirmed, the order and the seat location are sent to Hoyts staff and the order is then delivered to the moviegoer’s seat without ever having to go near a checkout line.

Matt Barr, MasterCard Australia head of market development and innovation, said the QkR technology is a key milestone for the company as it is one of the first projects to come out of MasterCard Labs, a global research & development arm dedicated to bringing innovative payment solutions to market.

“We’re focused on smart ways to simplify and improve the consumer experience,” he said. “QkR has many possible uses, and this pilot is just one great example of leveraging different technologies in a new way to create an easy and convenient ordering experience.”

Available to iPhone and Android smartphone users, the QkR pilot is the latest development between MasterCard and the Commonwealth Bank and follows the launch of Commbank Kaching which, in addition to facilitating peer-to-peer payments, uses MasterCard PayPass to allow customers to simply tap their phone to pay at check-out.

While there are speculations that Kaching and QkR will be integrated together, QkR will remain banking agnostic in the meantime, according to Fiamma Morton, Commonwealth Bank head of transactional banking.

Also, Barr added in terms of rolling the technology elsewhere it will depend on the results from the pilot.

“We look forward to tracking the results from it with Hoyts in the coming months and then we’ll be making decisions of what we’ll do next,” he said.