I’ M standing in the pizza kitchen at Da Angelo Ristorante looking at a small, blank digital screens mounted on the wall above the kitchen phone. Suddenly it pings and lights up. “Main macaroni marinara”, it reads. “No fish please. Just prawns, scallops, a dash of cream”.
Angelo transcribes the order, passes it to the kitchen, looks at the clock and presses the accept button and another on his screen which tells the customer when the order will be ready for pick up.
Meanwhile, another staff member is on one of Da Angelo’s five incoming phone lines taking down another person’s phone- in order. By the time she’s explained the menu and written down what the customer decides he wants, another four orders have popped up on the wall screen and been passed to the kitchen. “It’s magic” says a beaming Angelo. So I took myself off to Salamanca with an iPad and the system’s developer, Sergei Nester, to test the “magic” from the other end.
I type in www. instafood. com. au, selected Da Angelo Ristorante and brought up the full menu and prices.
Were I Chinese, I could have brought the menu up in Mandarin, or, through Google translator, in any one of the world’s languages, including Esperanto.
Tempted to test Angelo with an order in Chinese, I’m told orders can only be placed in English.
So I type in my name and “medium margarita with anchovies, prosciutto and a pinch of chilli”.
Back it comes to tell me it’s accepted and will be ready at 7pm.
And, at 7pm, there it is, ready and waiting. I open it and ask “Where are the artichokes?”
“What artichokes?” cries Angelo as he hits his screen’s history button in a panic. “See, there’s your order. You didn’t ask for artichokes”. And we both laugh. “It’s fantastic”, he says. “It saves time, frees up my wait staff, relieves congestion with people waiting at the front for takeaways and, for patrons, they can customise their orders with whatever extras and menu variations they want. And we have their contact details and a record of their order. It’s foolproof”.
And it’s cost Sergei about 18 months of IT work and considerable dollars to get it to that stage.
He chose Da Angelo’s to test run it, he says, because it’s the busiest takeaway in the city with the most possible menu options and because Angelo is a true professional.
“If there was even the tiniest problem, Angelo wouldn’t have run with it.
“And, for me, if it works here, it will work in any takeaway”, he says.
Nester’s previous project was an architectural visualisation system which allowed designers, architects and home owners to design their home and decide what colour walls, which kitchen layout etc would best suit their “virtual” home on their computer screen.
He sold many systems and modelled many thousands of building projects around the world.
So he knows what he’s on about and