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Thursday, November 4,2010

Waiting in line: Skip it with Splick-It

By Mitchell Byars

 

 

Tired of looking for iPhone apps to keep you occupied while you wait in line for a coffee and a sandwich? Well, now there is an app for skipping that line entirely.

 

A Boulder-based company, SplickIt, has developed an iPhone app that allows its users to skip the lines at some of their favorite restaurants with a few flicks of their finger. The idea came from one of the company’s workers who used to own a coffee shop in Boulder and was tired of watching her customers wait in line.

 

“Our users love saving time,” says Gordon Boyes, chief executive officer of SplickIt.

“With the app, you are using your travel time more effectively. You don’t have to wait when you get your coffee in the morning or during the lunch-time rush. You save time and make your life easier.”

To use the SplickIt app, users select a restaurant or café from the list of available eateries on the phone, which will then bring the restaurant’s menu onto the screen. From there, customers can customize items and write notes for their order before adding them to their cart.

After filling out an order, users can then set a pick-up time (a minimum of 15 minutes for food and 5 minutes for coffee) and then pay (the app will save your payment information after the first time you input it). At the restaurant, your order will be ready and waiting for you at a designated pick-up area. No lines, no cash register, no waiting.

“It’s very intuitive, and there are only a few screens you need to go through,” says Boyes. “It’s all touch screens, so with a few taps you can hold the mayo or add milk to your coffee. It’s easier to get what you want, the way you want, when you want it.”

Several local Boulder eateries as well as several Colorado chain restaurants have partnered with SplickIt since the app came out in June. The list of restaurants now includes Snarf ’s, Atlas Purveyors, Ziggi’s, Pita Pit, Smiling Moose, Amante Coffee, Brewing Market, Flatiron Coffee, Corner Coffee Bar and Rueben’s Burger Bistro, and SplickIt is planning to add more restaurants in the near future, including Illegal Pete’s.

“We really worked with a lot of companies in Boulder,” says Boyes. “It all started locally and the relationship is great. We really want to bring these Boulder and Colorado places into it. We love the folks we’ve been working with and we want to add more merchants and more options for the users.”

The app is available for free through the Apple app store and is compatible with an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. An app for Android phones is also in the works and could be out by the end of the month. In addition, SplickIt offers apps that feature the same service but are designed to work with specific restaurants like Snarf ’s and Smiling Moose. While those apps don’t have the selection of the original SplickIt app, they are much quicker and convenient for people who frequent those particular restaurants often.

Boyes says that SplickIt is still hoping to make some improvements to the app. He wants to include a map feature that will show locations closest to the user’s location as well as connect the app to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter so people can share their dining experiences.

“Today’s user wants to post to Facebook or Twitter,” he says. “At the end of the day, we want to make this app a rich, mobile social experience for the consumer.”

But for now, Boyes says he has gotten lots of positive feedback from people who have said the app has made their lives less hectic, whether that means shortening their morning commute to work or not having to occupy a van full of hungry kids in line.

“We’ve all had that experience where we walk into our favorite place to eat and walked out because the line was too long,” says Boyes. “We’ve all been there. With this app you will never experience that again. You can order in your office or at home and you just pull up and grab your stuff and go.

“It’s a pretty cool experience to walk into a place with a long line and have your food already waiting for you. It’s almost like a VIP experience.”

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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