When the powers that be at Kounta told me that they’d like to start creating monthly themes around the blog posts I write, I was excited. I instantly threw out an idea, but apparently using cloud software to foment world revolution wasn’t exactly what they had in mind.
When they told me they’d already picked out a topic for this month–“Speed”–I was less than thrilled. Honestly, I hate that movie. Keanu Reeves has the acting range of a dead slug, and the premise is ludicrous. When I protested, I was informed that they weren’t talking about the movie, before launching into some diatribe about Reeves being one of the more underappreciated leading men in the last couple decades, and how his monotone delivery is usually the perfect complement to more colorful actors that he shares the screen with. Australians are weirdly passionate about Keanu Reeves for some reason. ANYWAY. No, they wanted me to focus on the speed of Kounta, and how that translates to a more positive customer experience. Honestly, that makes so much more sense.
So what better place to start with a post about speed than to look at quick service restaurants? Quick-serve is the middle ground between fast food and a legitimate meal: you get in line, place your order–to stay or to go–and wait 5 to 10 minutes for your food. You can call your order in to speed up the process, but that often only goes so far. When you arrive to pick up your food, you still have to pay, which means getting on some kind of line. Or, you can give your credit card details over the phone, trusting them to whatever random person you happen to be talking to. Neither of these are ideal. Also not ideal is the prospect of getting on an enormous line during the lunch rush and having it take 20 – 30 minutes to get your food from a quick-serve restaurant. What’s an owner to do to keep things moving? If only there were some way, like a service or an app, to beat the queue.
Imagine this: a mobile app tied to a cloud-based service that lets customers peruse your menu, select items–even customise them–and then order and pay online. What’s that? You say GrubHub’s been doing this for years? Well, OK, sure. If you want to fork over an average of 13.5% of your revenue per order, go for it. Just remember if you opt to pay their minimum, you’ll be buried at the bottom of their search results. Oh, make sure you buy a fax machine, too.
No, what I’m talking about is a little more sophisticated than that. I’m thinking something that can integrate directly into your point of sale. You know, a customer pays through the app, the app sends the order to the POS, which then does it’s thing: record the sale, mark it as paid, send the food order to a kitchen printer, drink order over to a drink station. Everything gets packed up and waits to be picked up from an express window–or something like it–in a customer/employee exchange that lasts all of 15 seconds. I’m thinking, too, that even though customers pay through this app, owners shouldn’t have to pay through the nose. A modest flat rate will do to cover the credit card processing fees plus a little extra for the effort, nothing more than 4% of the entire bill. Customers will be happy for the speed and ease of the whole thing. Owners are happy because a low cost solution is helping them to not lose customers, and probably gain some new ones. And whoever makes this app will be happy, because their business model will work. This is what business folks call a “win-win-win,” because business folks like to repeat themselves. Not bad, right? Some times I think myself towards a million dollar idea. I might just go out looking for some sweet venture capital and start this thing on my own. Seems like a can’t miss proposition.
UPDATE: It has come to my attention that I am not the first person to come with the idea of beating the queue in this way. Another company, called Beat the Q, has been doing this for a while. They’re based out of Australia, which means they take Keanu Reeves very seriously, and have already partnered with Kounta to make this kind of service a reality. I wish I had known this earlier, as it would have saved a lot of time by not writing this post. Now I’m running late for an appointment, but at least I can order some food in advance and quickly pick it up beforehand.