Never lose another order at your peak lunch hour
If you work in an office with an open floor plan, smells of lunch probably start to waft through the air around noon. And if you haven’t packed a lunch, you’ll probably start scrolling through menus on your phone trying to find a place nearby you like with something on the menu that you like. Once you’ve found something you might walk over, only to find a line snaking around the restaurant and out the door, at which you have to decide whether or not the thing you want is worth a half hour line.
In an episode of Freakonomics last year, Stephen Dubner talks about how much he doesn’t like standing in lines. There’s a segment in the episode about people standing in line for a pizza place notorious for long lines talking about how they would pay double and even triple for a slice to get their lunch immediately. They talk about professional line standers people can pay to stand in line for them.
Source: Vegan Picnic serves plant-based replacements for American classics like gooey grilled cheeses, crispy chicken sandwiches and meatball subs, as well as fresh pastries.
People go out of their way to avoid lines and skip ahead. What if there you could go somewhere where you never had to wait in line? Starbucks and others have introduced mobile orders as a way people can avoid long waits to get their orders faster. But most of these require that you download their mobile app, another app that you’ll have to keep in your phone, using up memory that you could be using for your photos or music.
Here are few businesses that get it:
Vegan Picnic, a vegan deli QSR (Quick-Serve Restaurant) in San Francisco’s Cow Hollow neighborhood and Crepe House in the Mission District, offer a different solution. You can simply open Facebook Messenger on your phone, connect with the Vegan Picnic or Crepe House chatbot and start a conversation. Through Messenger, you can look through their entire menu, tell the chatbot what you want, and pay online, all while you’re walking or driving over. Then, when you get to there, you can just pick up your lunch and head back to work. You don’t have to download another app to your phone, or talk to anyone on the phone.
The chatbot these restaurants use is called Joy, and you can have a conversation with Joy just as you would with a cashier. When you start talking, she’ll ask you whether or not you need to look at the menu. If you know what you want, you can just tell her what you’d like, and she’ll ring you up right away. The best thing about Joy is that you don’t even have to be in the restaurant to place your order—you can order from the office or while you’re walking over and then pick up your lunch right away once you get there.
Crepe House is a brunch spot tucked away on Valencia St. in the Mission. They serve sweet and savory crepes all day, along with sandwiches, salads and other breakfast foods. If you happen to walk in during brunch though, you’ll probably find a pretty long line. Even if you just want the wifi password, you’d have to wait behind everyone waiting to order and sit down.