There’s a problem with fast food: It’s really not that fast! By the time you
drive out to a coffee shop or burger joint, find parking, get out of the car,
wait in line and pay for your food, you might as well have gone home and whipped
yourself up a sandwich.
How’s this for an idea: You order your breakfast
or lunch from your favorite joint while you’re on the road – via your cellphone,
using an app called Tapingo (www.tapingo.com), which displays restaurants,
menus, prices and everything else you need to know. You tap in your choices (of
course, you’ve stopped the car and are parked on the shoulder while you’re doing
this) and then put in your credit-card details. Once you’ve ordered, you drive
to the restaurant, double park (check for traffic cops first), run in and grab
the bag that has your name on it – and drive away with your meal to enjoy it at
your home, office or even the beach.
Now that’s how fast food should
work, and Tapingo, says Guy Bauman, the company’s vice president for marketing,
wants to enable fast-food fressers in Israel, and around the world, to get their
breakfasts, lunches and dinners as quickly and efficiently as possible, without
wasting an excess moment on the operation.
“It’s another tool for the
mobile, on-the-go lifestyle,” he says. “Thanks to services like iTunes, people
have gotten used to buying products over the phone. Why not bring that same
concept to ordering food?” Ease of use – both for consumers and restauranteurs –
is the “secret sauce” Tapingo brings to ordering in.
“Whether at the
office or at home, it’s become natural for consumers to use their cellphones for
nearly all their communication needs, even where a desktop computer is
available,” Bauman says. “Tapingo shows users their dining options in the area,
lets them browse for menu choices all from one app – already a big time
“And they can order and pay via credit card, using the information
they put into the app when they set it up, saving even more time, without the
need to fumble for their wallets while speaking on the phone to an order
The price is clear, and so is the order and the expected delivery
times, so there are no misunderstandings on either side.
It’s a great
deal for restauranteurs too, Bauman says, adding: “The best part for business
owners is that they don’t have to install any new hardware. The application
feeds the orders into the establishment’s existing order system, with the menu
choices and payment information going straight to the restaurant’s
The order gets processed in the kitchen and
delivery department in exactly the same way as an order placed by someone
standing at the cash register.”
It’s like found money – actually, found
business – for restaurants, he says, because it expands their potential customer
reach to anyone using Tapingo.
Other services that try to connect Web or
cellphone users exist, Bauman says, but all of them are a hassle for
restauranteurs to integrate into their business because they require special
(and often expensive) equipment, phone codes or faxes.
business owners with the easiest and most convenient way around to take orders
from the outside,” he says.
As an app, Tapingo has been around for a few
months, but it became ready for prime time only in the past few weeks. Currently
available for the iPhone, Android and Blackberry, Tapingo’s first target area is
the business district of central Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan. Dozens of restaurants
offering delivery service in the area are included, and you can sort restaurants
by type (Chinese, cafe, kosher, etc.).
Prices and choices are listed, and
when you order, you’re asked to insert your credit-card information (the system
is very secure and accepts Paypal as well). Press send, and either sit back and
wait, or amble on down to the restaurant to pick up your lunch or dinner – no
waiting, guaranteed! One other great feature, Bauman adds, is that the entire
application – including the menu items, prices and restaurant information – is
available in English, even if the actual menus in the restaurant are only
available in Hebrew.
“There’s a great deal of interest among restaurants
to join us,” he says. “Our fees are very easy for them to swallow. Basically,
it’s a form of revenue sharing, whereby if we get them business, we take a small
percentage of the sale. Otherwise it costs them nothing, and customers pay the
same whether they order via Tapingo or at the counter.”
First Tel Aviv,
then the rest of Israel, and finally – the world, Bauman says, adding: “Within
weeks we will be including restaurants in the Sharon, and then [we’ll] move on
to Beersheba, Jerusalem and other locations in Israel.”
Tapingo also is
planning to go international, he says.
“We’re still working on how to
deploy the application, but we’ve begun talks with groups abroad to set up a
Tapingo system for them as well,” he says.
And restaurants are just the
beginning, Bauman says.
“It’s not just an application, it’s a platform
that can be deployed in numerous ways, such as for gifts, flowers, and other
markets – any place that has a digital point of sales system,” he
Meanwhile, residents, workers and visitors to Tel Aviv – as well as
those living in cities where Tapingo will soon expand to – are invited to
download the app for free. The Tapingo experience promises to be an eye-opener
for those of us who are used to long waits at counters waiting for our “fast
food.” Who has time?
Let Tapingo do the waiting for you; you’ll find yourself
enjoying your meal a lot more when you don’t have to schlepp to get it!