Today, I took a stroll with 5th Finger’s co-founder to our favorite sandwich place, Specialty’s Cafe and Bakery, in San Francisco. Specialty’s is a Quick Service Restaurant with good food and amazing technology. They have been growing rapidly and according to Peter Havas their CTO, who is a fellow Aussie, the technology is a key to their growth. Evidence of Specialty’s passion for technology is found in an easy to use mobile site that unites mCommerce, social networking and a restaurant finder. But they didn’t stop there.
What I experienced was a perfectly executed in-store ordering and mCommerce experience all done on an Apple iPad. Complete with credit card swipe and memory of my previous orders. I pick up a paging device, the order is placed into the kitchen, my pager rings, I go pick up my food. Next time I come back it will remember my order. I loved it. The experience was beautiful and worked seamlessly. A fine example of in-store mCommerce.
However, it did highlight some natural shortcomings of using a tool like the Apple iPad for an unattended kiosk style experience. Firstly, the Apple iPad cannot be locked down, it was easy for me to exit the app and play with the iPad. Secondly, the Apple iPad as a high demand device would be subject to theft by prying out of the case. There are cases that deter this, but a determined thief always has their ways.
I praise Peter and Specialty’s for blazing a path with existing technology to show what is possible for in-store mCommerce.