The On-Demand Economy

We all love the convenience of grabbing a quick sandwich, salad, sushi, burrito or kimchi from our favorite restaurant or food truck at lunch time.

However, the frustration and pain of waiting in line, placing our order and then waiting again for the order to be prepared is something that drives people like me (and you?) insane.

It’s especially bad for me, as most servers typically don’t understand my South African accent, and so the frustration mounts when, after all the waiting, I receive something that I didn’t order. Did I mention I’m also incredibly impatient?

In today’s mobile, on-demand “Uber” World, our expectations of receiving exceptional service with the least amount of frustration keeps rising and rising.

There has been a proliferation of mobile apps in the restaurant space to address the customer experience and pain points I’ve highlighted above.

Early successes by brands like Starbucks has triggered significant VC investment into startups in the QSR tech space?—?we see tons of mobile payment solutions, mobile POS solutions, order-ahead apps and restaurant delivery startups. In addition to individual brands like Starbucks, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and other franchise chains, there are many players who offer “platform” solutions?—?some of the major players include Seamless/Grubhub, Just Eats and OpenTable who have rapidly migrated their offerings from web to mobile.

The App Store is littered with restaurant-specific apps and most of us do not want to clutter up our phones with dozens of apps that are restaurant-specific.

The majority of individual restaurant-specific apps (not the major brands) have limited downloads and usage.

Stats show that successful application of mobile-first solutions in the QSR space reap the following trifecta of business results: Increased spend,

Increased frequency of visits, Increased word-of-mouth.

This week I tried a new app called Ritual which is one of the slickest I’ve seen in this space. They currently have 200+ quick casual restaurants signed up on their platform. If you live or work in downtown Toronto, you can use my invite link here.

As I walked to the restaurant, the app tracked my location and kept me informed about the status of my order. It also showed the restaurant where I was so they could better manage their prep time. When I walked into the restaurant, I simply bypassed all the lines, walked to the front and they handed me my order.

Ritual has, in my opinion, created a beautiful platform that combines an elegant app, ordering and payment process, and backend integration to the restaurant, delivering a unified customer experience that made me smile.

No waiting, no wrong orders, no delays, no standing in line.

Truly exceptional.