OPERATIONS | Taking Orders by iPhone

With Apple’s iPhone ad campaign, the company often boasts, “We’ve got an app for that,” referring to its applications that can do everything from playing a game to providing walking directions. And now, the capability exists for iPhone and other smartphone users to order food and drinks through their mobile devices, using programs like myOrder.

Guests at a myOrder-enabled venue can launch the iPhone application, and myOrder uses GPS to track their coordinates and tell the staff in which section and table the guests are seated. Then, myOrder prompts guests to order, providing them with a menu; guests select items and click to confirm their order and their exact location, clearly marked by the venue. Finally, the order is relayed to the staff through a myOrder Communication Terminal that plugs orders in through an Internet connection, and the order arrives at the table.

Guests who can sit comfortably and tap in their order rather than pushing their way through the crowd at the bar or wait for a server aren’t the only ones who can benefit. Mobile ordering applications can help the owner and operator as well by allowing them to study guest preferences and track order history and venue visits. Mobile applications like this could give owners and operators the ability to understand more clearly what guests like to eat and drink, and it also gives them an opportunity to communicate with the guests.

Nightclub owner Martel Toler intends to use myOrder at Harlot nightclub in San Francisco for this exact reason: “When we sense that club goers are preparing to leave Harlot, I can offer incentives to keep them there,” Toler says in a statement.

Plus, alcohol brands can promote their beverages via such apps: SKYY Vodka already has partnered with myOrder for a mobile marketing campaign. The company plans to use the application to identify cocktail drinkers and send them direct messages about SKYY products.
In an age when the Internet makes practically anything and everything available at the touch of a button, it seems mobile ordering applications might soon make drink service just one click away, too.

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