Westfield Sydney has introduced a new food app that allows customers to order and pay for their lunch via their mobile phones. Instead of wasting time in the queue and faffing about with their wallets, busy CBD workers can simply rock up to the front of the line and collect their pre-prepared meal. There is a slight catch, however.
Photo: Din Tai Fung
Eat on Time was originally developed for Westfield shopping centers in the US but is now available for Sydneysiders too. As its name suggests, the app is designed to eliminate the drudgery of waiting in line at Westfield Sydney's sprawling food court -- handy if you're on a short lunch break.
The app's ordering system allows users to pre-order and pay for their food purchases from 16 participating outlets including Din Tai Fung, Charlie & Co Burgers, Chat Thai, Snag Stand and Dergah Grill. Once the food is ready, customers receive a notification and can immediately collect their order via a separate "VIP" queue.
“Eat on Time offers a diverse range of cuisine from premium food retailers and a technology solution for shoppers that allows for a quick, easy and convenient food experience," explained Westfield's director of marketing, John Batistich. "This is another step towards better connecting shoppers with our malls and retailers, across any digital device at any time."
Eat on Time requires the user to register their name, email address and credit card details, which are securely stored within the app. As with any service supplied by the retail industry, it pays to check the terms and conditions before signing up.
We're also not sure how the "VIP" queue jumping will work in practice -- unless a section of the counter is physically cordoned off, you're still going to be jammed in with all the other customers. Are you expected to just elbow your way to the front of the line without explanation? Or what? We've contacted Westfield's PR bods and will update the story with their response.
[Update: According to Westfield, participating restaurants all have "Eat on Time collection points" where the shopper would normally pick up their meal. This doesn't really explain whether the space is kept clear of other customers, however. If any Westfield Sydney shoppers can shed light on how the process works, let us know in the comments section below.]