Uber for booze has arrived

Kieron Monks, for CNNUpdated 4th November 2015
(CNN) — At a time when many of us can rent an apartment or book a taxi at the touch of a button, why are we still wasting our time queueing for drinks?
London start-up Orderella offers an alternative to battling the crowds. With its cashless "mobile waiter" app users can place orders on their phone at bars, restaurants and nightclubs, then pick it up at their leisure with no waiting or hassle.
"We're willing to queue but we hate it," says Orderella CEO Dennis Collett. "The way society is moving - especially millennials -- service must be when the customer wants, and they should be able to pay and leave when they want without waiting for a check."
The German-born Londoner cites research showing the importance of speeding up service to both consumers and venues:
Three in four surveyed consumers said that long waits at hospitality venues negatively impact their experience, while operators estimate that they lose 10% of customers to long queues.
Research from British courier Interparcel found that people lose patience after five minutes of waiting at a bar.
Orderella is reaping the benefits of impatience. Having launched in two London venues in October 2013, the service is now offered in 200 UK venues and 35 more in the Irish capital of Dublin, with 53,000 registered users.

Making it easy

The sales pitch to operators emphasizes ease of use.
"We are trying to disrupt a very traditional industry, so we focused on innovative operators first," says Collett. "We show operators the experience from a consumer perspective -- order the drink, go to the bar, your pint arrives."
Collett adds that the app - loosely modeled on Uber - saves time for venue staff, and orders increase without the pressure of queues. He claims that enabled venues have increased sales by 11% and save staff 90 seconds per order.
The company has chosen to target nightlife venues where queues tend to be longer, as well as student unions that have a high rate of returning consumers.
The field of hospitality is beginning to embrace technology solutions, and Orderella has been well-received, winning prestigious industry awards.

Embracing the future

Mobile ordering may be the most significant innovation in hospitality, believes James Stagg, deputy editor of The Caterer.
"It is certainly the way the industry is moving - 99% of people turn up (to venues) with mobile phones and the ability to order without waiting," says Stagg. "There is certainly money for people offering these kinds of solutions."
Orderella face competition from rivals such as Velocity and Wi-Q, Stagg adds, as the practice becomes normalized.
Another obstacle is that operators may be reluctant to sacrifice the personal connection with guests if they are ordering by phone.
"This will be most effective in high turnover environments like busy bars and quick service restaurants," says Stagg.

New tricks

Having established a foothold, Orderella are set to scale up. The service will launch in Singapore in November, followed by Hong Kong and Australia next year. The company hopes to serve 1,000 venues by the end of 2016.
"We identified Singapore as it is very dense," explains Collett. "If you cover five streets that is 80% of the nightlife, and with lot of expats going out every week to the same venues it is good for repeat customers. It is also a stepping stone to Asia."
The start-up has further tricks up its sleeve. A new social platform will encourage sharing and user-generated content, and big data analytics on sales patterns and consumer habits will be made available to liquor giants such as Jägermeister.
Beyond mobile ordering, the industry is beginning to explore more advanced technologies such as automated serving, interactive tables and beer mats that keep drinks cold.
The traditional night out looks set for a digital makeover.