Buying food from a mobile "restaurant" that pulls up on your street is good; waiting in line outdoors in all types of weather while food is prepared is bad. However, a new app that lets users order and pay for food conveniently from their phones may put an end to loyal food truck patrons suffering through inclement weather to get their food.
PayDragon, a new mobile payment and purchasing app, gives mobile food truck customers (or really any restaurant patron) the ability to order and pay for food with a single click. The app is being rolled out to restaurants and food trucks in the Los Angeles area and is already available for use at colorfully named roaming restaurants like The Bun Truck and Auntie's Fry Bread. It's also being used at cream puff chain Beard Papas, the company said.
PayDragon founder Hamilton Chan said the app came out of the experience of developing QR and m-commerce technology through his other company, Paperlinks, a mobile marketing start-up. He said the company has seen consumers increasingly embracing interaction with brands, products and transactions on their mobile devices.
"This experience has enabled us to create a mobile payment app that people really want to use and is drop-dead easy," Chan said. "PayDragon lets users easily pull up and navigate food truck menus, shop for items, and discover local deals and vendors. Likewise, merchants can more easily fulfill orders and get goods to their customers. Everyone wins."
The app is designed to be simple and convenient for patrons in a hurry. After setting up a billing preference to pay for purchases — either a credit or debit card account linked to the app — users begin a transaction by scanning a QR code at the restaurant or using a location-based discovery tool to find a participating restaurant. After that it's simply a matter of browsing the menu and placing an order. The app then alerts the user when the order is ready for pick-up.
And unlike other mobile payment options for restaurants, PayDragon lets users pay before they get to the end of the line.
"Whereas other mobile payment solutions allow you to pay only when you reach the front of the line," Chan continues, "PayDragon lets you order and pay without ever having to get in one. That is a huge advantage."
PayDragon said its app is perfectly tailored for food trucks and other high-volume food vendors looking to cut down wait times and keep staff focused on fulfillment. The company said the app provides hands-off order fulfillment and payment management, requires little set-up and investment, and even gives merchants an internal dashboard for monitoring activity and orders.
"PayDragon was set up in a really smart way," said Eric Silverstein, owner of peached tortilla and Yume Burger food trucks. The two food trucks were test merchants for PayDragon during the app's trial run at this year's South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas.
"We were able to monitor orders through the internal dashboard, which made getting the food to the customers fast and easy," Silvestein said. "Most importantly, PayDragon allows us to serve more orders in less time and make the most of those really important busy periods when people don't want to wait in line and may go elsewhere."
Along with browsing, ordering and paying for food, PayDragon gives merchants other features like a gaming option, letting regular patrons earn loyalty points, or the ability to offer discounts and deals from within the app.
The app is available for both Android and iOS devices. A video showing the app in use at the SXSW festival is below:
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