There’s a phrase that Harry Potter never uttered in his seven years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Now, however, the magic is real for Muggles – er, we mean, regular non-magic people – across Britain, and they don’t even have to remember the Latin-sounding summoning spell – all they have to do is wave the Just Eat ordering wand to place their most recent takeout order again. The wand’s LED tip even blinks to let the customer know their order has been placed and paid for.
The device leverages Chirp soundwave technology to trigger the user’s mobile device to order their favorite dinner through the Just Eat app. It does this by transmitting an encrypted sound signal that functions like a “sonic barcode.” Also, it limits order frequency to one per hour to avoid accidental multiple orders.
The device was developed by global online food delivery company Just Eat, which previously created face recognition food mapping and introduced self-driving delivery robots that have, to date, delivered more than 1,000 takeout orders.
So far, the wand is only a prototype. However, Just Eat hopes to take it to the next level, one day enabling users to wave the wand in the shape of a “C” to order Chinese food, “P” for pizza or “I” for Indian, for example. It could also one day enable group ordering and bill splitting with friends, and the distribution of promotional offers and discounts via radio and TV ads, or as shared by delivery drivers.
Mobile order ahead has, of course, been a growing trend for a while now. The technology improves convenience in food takeout by allowing customers to place orders via a website or mobile device and pick it up in the store when it’s ready – rather than coming in, ordering and standing around waiting.
Meanwhile, mobile delivery has also been ballooning in popularity, bringing all the convenience of mobile order-ahead, plus the added bonus of having the order brought straight to one’s door.
The mobile delivery market is projected to reach a value of $55 billion by 2022. Seventy percent of internet users told research analysts that they had ordered food delivery in the past year, with another 20 percent ready to try it. And of all online orders, 69 percent are placed on a mobile device.
All of these statistics point to the importance of creating ease and convenience to serve customers the way they want to be served and thrive in the quick service restaurant (QSR) and fast-casual space.
But even the most efficient, user-friendly mobile order ahead and mobile delivery apps still require customers to take out their phone, open an app and tap or swipe at least once to place an order. A magic wand eliminates those steps – as well as introducing an element of fun to the dinner ordering process, which can apparently make the food taste better.
Oxford University food scientist Professor Charles Spence explained, “Fun improves your mood, which enhances your taste of the food. A wand … appeals to our inner child and evokes happy memories. Anything that makes your mind happier makes your taste buds happier.”
It’s magic. Er, science.