Tech entrepreneur launches takeout order app
A new phone app for Bermuda is set to solve the problem of what to do when you call a restaurant to order a takeout, but can’t get through because the line is busy.
Instead of hunting for a second choice, or trying to call back, the Orderin.bm app will allow you to go ahead and place your order without needing to speak to anyone on the phone.
With the app you can scroll through menus, make your choice and send your order. The restaurant receives the request on its own device and can let you know how long the order will take to prepare, and when it is ready to be collected.
It is also expected the app will appeal to tourists, particularly those under the age of 40 from the US for whom ordering takeouts using a phone app is second nature.
Technology entrepreneur Chris Bennett has devised the system, which is now in the final stages of preparation to be launched in the next few weeks.
The 36-year-old has worked in IT in Bermuda since leaving school, and has experience developing websites and applications for businesses and events.
He had been thinking about IT solutions for the island’s restaurants for a few years, and then was approached by some of them asking know how they could accept orders online.
“I realised that building individual applications or websites for each restaurant did not make sense for Bermuda’s size; no one was going to download ten different apps just to place an order,” he said.
“So I envisioned the product being a single app. All the restaurants could join the platform and then you can place your order to each restaurant.”
When travelling overseas he saw other web-based food takeout services, such as Grubhub in the US.
“I wasn’t looking to that [Grubhub] essentially, it was more giving Bermuda restaurants the ability to get online easily and not have to spend money in the development and hassle; I wanted to cut that out for them,” he said.
“The product is basically made for Bermuda. It probably would not work too well in other places, but we are small enough that we can hold hands together to make one big experience where it makes life easier for people to order their food.”
Customers use the app, which can be downloaded from the Google and Apple stores, to view the menus of different restaurants and see which are open.
“Once you have built your order you will go to the checkout and it will ask you to create your account. You can easily sign in with Google, Facebook, Twitter or create your own account. That’s it — the order then goes to the restaurant.”
The customer awaits a “push notification” on the app to tell them if their order has been accepted, and further notification when the order is ready to be collected.
Orderin.bm has the ability to add restaurants’ weekly specials to the online menus. One challenge was how to integrate with point-of-sale systems already being used by restaurants.
Mr Bennett has developed an Android kiosk device for restaurants, that will receive customers’ orders from the app and print them out. Using the device, the restaurant has the option of accepting the order or declining, for instance if its kitchen has closed or the ordered item is not available.
The restaurant sends a message back to the customers’ phone, through the app, to tell them the status of the order, when it will be ready, and alert them when it is ready to collect.
Mr Bennett said: “We will be officially launching in the next couple of weeks. We are getting the last of the restaurants on board and changing a few menu items and updating.”
A second version of the app is planned later this year, and it will include the ability for group ordering, where an order can be sent to a friend’s phone for them to add their choice.
Mr Bennett said: “The focus is to make life easier for the customers and for the restaurants.
“We deal with the hassle and any issues that arise. The restaurants don’t have to worry about maintaining a website or app — we take care of all of that side.”
He believes the app will be welcomed by visitors who might not know where to order takeouts on the island, but are familiar with the idea of ordering on a phone app.
“Tourists want a seamless experience. Pretty much all the tourists in their 20s and 30s that come from the East Coast, they have not picked up a phone to place a food order. All they know is how to use apps to place food orders.”
• Orderin.bm has a website at www.orderin.bm