Welcome to the ordering revolution. Although ordering clothing online has definitely had a revolution of its own, being able to have an item delivered to your door without having to go to the store is nothing new. However, what is relatively innovative, is the new(er) method of online food ordering. I remember back to a time when you only had three options when you were hungry:
- Cook a meal in your kitchen
- Go to the nearest restaurant with family or friends
- Order from a restaurant, drive there, and pick up the delivery
Today we live in an impatient society where we want everything now and we want it to be at our convenience. After the start of the internet boom, came another innovation, Seamless. In 2000, Seamless was the first app created that provided companies the ease of ordering food online from the comfort of their office. In 2005, the company decided to expand the model and open the service to individuals. Today, you can find endless apps just like Seamless and deciding which app to use is almost as difficult as deciding what to order. Like every other college student, I made sure to utilize this service all too often: whenever class ran late, when I had to sit in the library for endless hours doing homework, or when my laziness took over, and I simply didn’t feel like cooking for myself. These sites allow people to save time while also eating delicious food. There is already so much pressure to make the most of your day. As much as an app like this can help the busy college student or young professional, it can also become an expensive habit.
This type of digital business model has created a time-saving alternative to cooking without sacrificing the quality of your meal. More specifically, ordering food online is extremely easy. It’s as easy as clicking a mouse to order and waiting on your couch for your food to come to you. Some programs make it even easier by incorporating a recommendation tab. For example, Foodler will look at your past orders and based on that, suggest restaurants you may also enjoy. I am personally an indecisive person at times (especially when deciding what to eat). Having these suggestions helps me narrow down a list of hundreds of options to just a handful. Another way programs, such as Foodler, use recommendations is through menu items. When you click on the menu for a restaurant, you can find a list of suggestions based on your order history and overall popularity. The final way recommendations are used throughout food ordering apps is through written reviews from previous customers. This social aspect to apps allows you to see what customers thought of the establishments service, food, and overall feel. Foodler only has the option to rate a meal based on stars. Apps like Yelp allow you to see real comments and conversations. Like I said, I am extremely picky, and being able to see how different entrees compare to one another based on reviews other customers have written makes my decision that much easier. On apps like Yelp, you can find general information, see pictures of the food, and written reviews about the restaurant.
Although there are obvious benefits of a successful service like this, there are also downfalls. The other day someone mentioned Yelp having to pay people to write positive reviews instead of negative ones. Unfortunately, this is definitely a fault of this type of system and it’s nearly impossible to find ways to eliminate this problem. Another issue I’ve found with this type of model is the inevitable costs. For example, each restaurant has a delivery fee and order minimum. Some places are very reasonable about these types of prices, while others have high fees. If a location is far, a high delivery charge or minimum is justified, but I’ve found places only a few minutes down the road that have ridiculous prices. Here is where it gets tricky. At what point does our generations’ laziness override our desire to save money? Personally, if the prices on the menu are low and the surrounding ordering price is high, I will pass and make something myself. I would love to look more into why certain sites and eateries have higher charges than others, but that’s a conversation for another blog post.