You just got back from work with hardly enough energy to open the refrigerator let alone make an actual meal. That means take-out. But with quite a few San Franciscans also grubbing on delicious fare across the city, who knows how long receiving your food might take.
Square wants to make your wait time less mysterious with a new app called Square Order. The service pulls nearby bakeries, restaurants and more and tells you how long it would take for your pick-up order to be ready. Square Order makes the process sound pretty easy: "Choose items you would like and they will be ready when you arrive."
The app is currently available only in San Francisco and New York City with an iOS version and an Android edition currently in beta testing. The app requires iOS 7.0 and works on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
I tested out the Android tester version and after inputting my card and personal information I saw a page with nearby eateries and the amount of time it would take to pick up a meal (my bank alerted me that the app charged me $2 but this later showed up as no charge). For each location, you can browse under different menu items to check out the offerings.
Strangely, the page also lists restaurants closed for the day. Among my 35 options were eateries Alta CA, Wise Sons, The Pastry Cupboard and even a few Whole Foods locations. The wait times ranged from five minutes to 15 minutes.
It seems the list of options might grow, however, since Square Order lets users give their input. When you click the menu item 'Suggest a Business,' the app takes you to your preferred email and drafts a message with designated spaces for the business name, number, location and any comments.
Making it easier for hungry people to get food through their phone seems to be a popular idea in S.F. and in general. A few emerging apps like Caviar are targeting those San Franciscans that prefer delivery (hooray for not having to change into normal clothes to get a meal). We also recently wrote about Pittsburgh-based NoWait, a service that allows you virtually wait in line and show up when your table is ready. Problem is when we checked, it only covered a couple of eateries in SF.
Square Order can probably compete with these services if it includes the restaurants San Franciscans frequently order take-out from. And that's quite a few places in each different neighborhoods, so if the app does the trick for you it would benefit from some business suggestions. Just no more Whole Foods, please.