OLO provides online ordering for companies such as Five Guys, Noodles & Co. and Cold Stone Creamery. Guests can order from their smartphones and pick up their order in store without waiting in line.
I met founder Noah Glass earlier this year and was very impressed by his commitment to helping restaurants incorporate mobile technologies.
Mobile has changed a lot of spaces already; I think there’s a lot of potential to improve the restaurant experience for both consumers and operators:
- A better consumer experience. We’ve all experienced the lunch rush. Your stomach is grumbling and you just want to eat. With order ahead, you can bypass the line and get straight to your food. Mobile ordering also increases order accuracy because you can see what you’re ordering. I was recently at a bar in Utah and ordered a Hop Notch IPA. The bartender thought I said half nachos. Oops.
- Increased throughput for restaurants. People who know what they want aren’t turned off by a long line and go elsewhere.
- Reduced operational costs for restaurants. Miscommunication in ordering and unclaimed orders cost restaurants money.
As I’ve noted repeatedly in my writings, local is a hard slog and OLO has shown the dedication and perseverance necessary to succeed in local. The company started off with mobile ordering by text message in 2005. It is also well financed, having recently received a strategic investment from PayPal as part of a $5 million round.
Noah and team are off to a great start and I look forward to working with them to help restaurants take advantage of mobile.