By Anthony Ha for Techcrunch.com,
Lunch breaks! They’re great, right? But they can also turn into a huge time sink — I’ve definitely had moments where I’m frantically flagging down a waiter because everything’s taken longer than expected, leaving me to try to pay the check and get to my next meeting in just a few minutes.
One (sad) solution is to eat at your desk, but Allset is taking a different approach, by making the sit-down lunch process more efficient. You can make a reservation, place your order and even pay directly from the app. Then when you get to the restaurant, you just tell them your name, and you should get seated and served in short order.
There are other services tackling reservations, payments or both, but I haven’t seen them combined with food ordering in this way, with the goal creating a faster dining experience. In fact, Allset says it can shave up to 40 minutes from your meal time.
The service launched in San Francisco last year, and the company says it’s serving 1,000 orders each month across 50 restaurants. As of today, Allset is also available in Manhattan, with initial restaurants including Palma, Les Halles, Mari Vanna and Brasserie Cognac.
Apparently it’s a good deal for the restaurants, too, since it allows them to serve more customers in a given period of time, and potentially to reach diners who might otherwise think they’re too busy. Les Clos in San Francisco says it has actually seen a 25 percent increase in lunch sales since partnering with Allset.
One potential criticism might come from people who want to take their time with lunch, rather than rushing through it to get back to work. But as far as I can tell, there’s nothing here requiring you to treat the meal like a super fast, super efficient experience — it just takes some of the unpredictable waiting out of the process.
I’m certainly interested in trying Allset out myself (especially since it’s almost lunchtime in NYC). The company is also offering $10 off for users who enter the promo code “TECHCRUNCH.”