Did anyone else hear about this new service that is being offered somewhere in Cambridge I believe? It is called Text My Food and the premise is almost exactly what it sounds like. A little explanation of course is in order. There is a company called Text My Food. The business principle is something like this. Tired of waiting for your server? Can not even find your server after having looked? Shy and bashful about making a scene if you flag the server down? Here, on your table, is the text number you can send too and get almost instant gratification with whatever it is that you need.
Okay, maybe I took that just a little to far. But then again, I am not completely so sure about that based on what I heard about it earlier today. So, for real, it is not a joke. It is a service a new startup is providing to restaurants and even bars and such. As I understand it, there literally will be a number somewhere on or near your table, think the little adverts that are commonly there anyway.
The concept as was demoed and that I heard yesterday, had the person doing the testing coming in, sitting down. After a few minutes of looking over the menu and not getting any service, she texted to the number what table she at which she was sitting, specifically, A3 – though I personally see that as a first problem – if the tables are NOT boldly numbered who the heck knows what table at which you are seated? She followed that, in the same text, what she would like to order, typing on the keypad specific instructions, like light mayo and pickle on the side. Later, when ready to pay, she again could not get a servers attention or did not see her server for some time and texted that she was ready to go and needed the check…
The company doing this, does have a website. According to the site, it will fill in those gaps in service that sometimes lead to the opinion that service is bad. Additionally, according to their claims mind you, the think it will lead to more drink sales, by having that total impulse buy available that might be tempered by waiting that few seconds for a reasonable server to take a refill order. Similar opinions exist on their website regarding appetizers and even desserts. Ã‚Â There could be suggestions and offers coming back at you as part of the response text, which should also increase sales. Ã‚Â In fact, according to their claims, the system will pay for itself in the first week with the uptick in sales generated.
Seems strange and very impersonal to me. Additionally, I have to wonder if a restaurant really has such bad service as what it claim to be helping just how long the restaurant is going to stay in business anyway. And when you really think about it, if the server is so busy she can not come take my order, who is going to be there to see that order gets put into the cook and will the server then know my food is in the queue if someone else does it? I will also suggest that if I have to do something like this to get served or whatever, it will probably be awhile before I come back to the establishment and your can sure bet that my tip for service (see my previous thoughts on that matter – Tipping, Not Cows) will also be diminished if not eliminated. By both of those accounts, the monetary gains in the short run may be increased by that additional drink order but long-term the lack of my return will hurt the bottom line much more.
I do have an idea where the process could work though. Fast food, especially the drive through. First, at just about any fast food place you pretty much know you are sacrificing any real service by the nature of fast food, so not really a problem. Also consider the horrid speaker/mike systems they use in the drive through service lines and just how often the order is screwed up. Even the better ones that have the screen to confirm, well, they still get it wrong often enough the first time and plenty of time the verification screens are not working and instead show a blank screen or worse an additional advert.
Enter text my food to the posted number… You text your order anywhere in the lane, very precisely spelling out what you want. You get to the window and give your phone number to verify which order is yours. Oh! OH! Take the concept further, an app for that, specifically labeled for the that location of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, or Burger King you are at. You get an interactive menu to touch what you want and picture icons of pickles or not for your dog’s double cheeseburger. I call the patent on this and will be busy the rest of the night working on the project!
** – Image from TextMyFood.Com and is apparently the logo to identify restaurants using the system?