Big chains like Starbucks and Pizza Hut have already pushed through iPhone apps that let you order coffee and food ahead of time without waiting in line. But what about the thousands of mom-and-pop stores throughout the country?
Seattle-based startup Order Mapper is tackling that problem with an iPhone app launched today called Order Pizza. You enter your contact information, pick a nearby pizzeria, select toppings and the size from a menu and press order through the app.
It then makes a call using Twilio, which has a powerful application programming interface for phone services. The automatically generated phone call uses a recorded voice to read your details to the pizzeria. It sounds like a customer service phone tree, except the tables are now turned and the pizzeria has to listen to an annoying phone menu of your order. Payment is analog: you pay with cash when the delivery man gets to your door.
Order Mapper’s co-founder Jim Bricker says about 95 percent of pizzerias the company has tested the service with have accepted orders, even if they had never heard of Order Mapper. The app is free and doesn’t add any extra charges for ordering pizza through the app. The way the company plans to earn revenue is by selling premium services to pizzerias, like their own branded apps or additional menu options. (Order Mapper only works with generic ingredients like pepperoni, so if you are a patron of an extra bourgeois pizzeria with Thai peanut sauce, you won’t be able to access those options.)
All of this begs the question — I can already order pizza from anywhere in the country through my phone, so why do this? This app is for the particularly lazy, the ones that don’t want to wait through a phone call or deal with customer service. Really, Order Mapper’s approach could be used in any generic, local service industry like calling a taxi. The company has eight employees and is at a seed-funding stage.