Fast Food Chains Race Toward Mobile Ordering

Taco Bell on Tuesday debuted its mobile app that allows customers to place an order, customize their food, access special offers and pay from their phones.

The move from the chain owned by Yum Brands Inc comes as restaurants, including McDonald's Corp and , seek to use mobile technology to ring up more sales and speed up service.

"We believe mobile ordering and payment is the biggest innovation since the drive-thru," Taco Bell President Brian Niccol said in a statement.

Taco Bell's website as well as its Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook social media accounts went "dark" ahead of the announcement, showing nothing but black space, in a bid to drum up interest among the 18- to 34-year-old Millennial generation that spends about $95 billion annually on meals and snacks away from home.

After the announcement, Taco Bell's social media sites urged users to download the new mobile app.