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New app could level playing field for small businesses

Published On: Mar 28 2014 07:12:50 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 28 2014 07:21:56 PM CDT

A group is looking to make small businesses just as available and up-to-speed with the latest technology, without the added expense of a team of developers.

POCATELLO, Idaho -

We hear all the time "There's an app for that," but we usually never hear it from the small local restaurants.  However, that could soon be changing thanks to a fairly new company's goal to help local businesses compete with the big box stores.    

James Rich, director of marketing and sales for SPF Solutions, said the National Restaurant Association found 74 percent of people would like the convenience of ordering food from their phone if it was available.

This has helped SPF Solutions develop the IQOS (In que order system) to help small local businesses have an app just like the chain restaurants.

"Individuals are paying more, using mobile devices and the web than they do in person," Rich said.

Rich said a local restaurant can have a lot of great things going for it, but without an app they are missing a major client base: people who don't want to wait.

"There's something that happens," Rich said, relating an experience where he was eating at a popular local restaurant and saw people leave because there was a line. "You start losing customers not because of your food, and not really because of your service. Just because they had to wait in line, so they're going to go next door.

Rich said people want to do more than just look at a menu on the computer.  He said people would rather be able to order food wherever they are and just go and pick it up.

Here's how the system works: The customer orders on their mobile device, which is received by a mini-computer at the restaurant.  A receipt prints with the order, and at the same time the restaurant has a monitor that displays the order number, completion status and other necessary information.

Once the order is completed, the customer gets notified through the app on their phone the order is ready.  Then they go to the pick-up counter, bypassing the line completely.

Rich also said restaurants are able to update their menu at any time on the computer, which automatically updates the app.  The store hours, prices and payment are all within the app.

Rich said they will soon start beta testing the system with Grill Nation, part of Chartwell's on the Idaho State University campus.  If you would like to participate as a beta tester, you can call him on his cell phone at 208-740-0892.  For more information SPF Solutions, click here:  http://www.spfsolutions.biz/about-us.html.

Chris Cole on Facebook (http://on.fb.me/126vPsW) and on Twitter (http://bit.ly/126vO8n).

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