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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Square Has a New Ordering App. I Got Coffee. It Was Kind of Amazing.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 2:01 PM

click to enlarge I was drinking this Americano within two minutes of pulling up to Blue Bottle on my bike, while the line was minutes longer. - PETE KANE
  • Pete Kane
  • I was drinking this Americano within two minutes of pulling up to Blue Bottle on my bike, while the line was minutes longer.

Probably everyone who’s ever eaten at a pop-up or a food truck is familiar with Square, the mobile payment system. Well, they’ve brought out a free app, Order, which allows you to order food from dozens of cafés and restaurants, and have it waiting for you when you get there. 

Upon downloading Order, you take a selfie (so employees can recognize you) and plug in your payment information. I did it all on a random street corner in SoMa, ordered an Americano from Blue Bottle, and pedaled off. As I was chaining up my bike, I got a notification saying that my drink was being made. One minute after I walked inside, I got another notification saying it should be ready. About 45 seconds after that, I heard my name. It kind of blew my mind a little.

I will go on record as saying that I’m usually really skeptical of these things, because I find them to be infantilizing toys that solve First World problems and minor inconveniences. I'll also go on record stating my reservations with the culture surrounding coffee, because in the final analysis coffee is still a utilitarian beverage that most people take their first sip of with the taste of toothpaste still in their mouths. But no one, rich or poor, overworked or unemployed, wants to wait in a long line for coffee, especially first thing in the morning (or when 17 people ahead of you are all getting drip). So Order is very useful. I consider myself a Line Etiquette stickler — it's "no cuts, no buts, no coconuts" if you're in my field of vision — yet I was fairly giddy about sailing in.

And it isn’t just for coffee. You can order horchata from Boba Guys, challah French toast from Wise Sons, pork salad from Souvla, barleywine from the Beer Hall, and tons of other things. (Again, this purely anecdotal and based on a single visit to the Mint Plaza Blue Bottle at an off-peak hour, but these things are usually buggiest at the outset and this was smooth all the way.) Just when I thought we had reached peak app, I was wrong.

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About The Author

Pete Kane

Pete Kane

Pete Kane is a total gaylord who is trying to get to every national park before age 40

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