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From a customer standpoint, there’s nothing more frustrating than having to wait, whether it be at the bar to order a drink, behind the guy at lunch who can’t decide what he’s in the mood for, or sitting (im)patiently at the table for the server to bring the check. The same goes for restaurant and bar operators—there’s nothing more frustrating than losing customers as a result of slow service. Lucky for all of us, those days may soon be behind us thanks to the advent of mobile menuing technology.

There’s An App for That
In late 2009, restaurateurs jumped on the iPhone app bandwagon, and they don’t seem to be slowing down. Dunkin’ Donuts introduced Dunkin Run, fast-food giant Burger Kinglaunched the location-aware NOW, and within three months of inception, Pizza Hut’s iPhone and iPod touch ordering application generated over $1 million in sales for the chain.

More recently, Chipotle, the fast-casual franchise that’s equally as famous for its huge burritos as it is for its use of organic ingredients, recently released its own ordering app, which lets users browse restaurant locations, view the menu, custom build an order, and pay for it—all without leaving their desk.

Web-Based Mobile Menuing
Austin-based start-up company, SpeedMenu, has taken the concept a step further and just developed the first web-based mobile menu and payment system.

SpeedMenu is free to the user (the restaurant pays a modest monthly fee), is accessible on any Internet-enabled phone, and works by completely integrating the user’s cell phone with the restaurant’s POS system. After customers place their first order with their server, a ticket will be generated that includes a location, PIN, and table number. Customers simply input that information at using their mobile device, and—voilà—they are instantly connected. From here they can securely:

  • Connect to your menu
  • View their tab
  • Place an order
  • Close out and pay
  • Send a receipt to their email account

Dinerware Certification
Although new to the market, leading restaurant POS software developer, Dinerware, has already certified SpeedMenu. “The Virtual Client in Dinerware version 3.0 enables third-party product integrations that allow restaurateurs to select specific functionalities for their business models and plans for growth,” said Jeff Riley, Dinerware CEO. “We are excited about our certification of SpeedMenu which enables restaurateurs to streamline on-the-floor operations and provide guests the ability instantly add to, close out or pay their bills.” Additionally, SpeedMenu interoperates with social networking sites Twitter andFacebook, allowing restaurateurs to promote specials.

Mobile Ordering Integration
Fellow Austinites Lanai Rooftop Lounge, was looking for a way to capture more sales andmaximize efficiencies without adding overhead. After integrating SpeedMenu on their Dinerware POS system, they received an additional 120 drink orders in just the first night, allowing them to ultimately increase profits, and customer satisfaction without increasing staff size.

With more and more consumers relying on their smartphones to make daily tasks a little more convenient, expect more and more establishments to develop their own version of the mobile menuing tool. And if current performance is any indicator of future success, this innovative new concept just may revolutionize the restaurant experience.