5.13.2014: Square Order / Reservations on Yelp


New York Times’ “Cooking” Launches Today

After a few months of anticipation, Cooking, a new recipe-driven online experience from the New York Times,launches today. It’s not groundbreaking stuff, but it is a well-designed spot to find recipes, photos, videos and great recipe collections previously featured in the TimesCheck it out.


Bye Square Wallet, Hello Order Ahead

Earlier this week, mobile payment company Square pulled its Square Wallet app from the app store after what WIRED calls a “lukewarm response.” Using Square Wallet, people could pay with their phones instead of cash or credit at the register. Plenty of people loved it (including this writer.) But not enough, I guess. The technology and design were all there, but it seems to have been a problem of adoption — convincing people to actually switch from the tried-and-true methods they’ve always used to an entirely new model.

Instead, the company is focusing attention on its new app, Square Order, which lets patrons order ahead and pay from their favorite spots in San Francisco and New York. On the merchant side, Order charges significantly more per order, a cost Square justifies, saying the functionality will drive more business. It’s probably true — we’ve been happily using online ordering services for a while now, and there are plenty of options to show for it.

Another new feature: Square now supports receipt feedback, allowing the consumer to send information directly to the business after a transaction is complete. It’s kind of like those restaurant comment cards you used to see at restaurants; users can rate the experience in a variety of categories. This is so smart. This option, which merchants can choose to implement, creates a direct line of communication between vendor and consumer, with a real opportunity for serious relationship building. Sure, there’s room here for the whiners and complainers to nit-pick an experience, but I’m willing to bet that those people are far less likely to send the equivalent of a negative-for-no-reason Yelp review directly to a merchant than they are to post it online next to their photo for all to see. Watch this receipt space; I imagine it’s only going to become more personalized and dynamic as it evolves.

illustration by April V. Walters
illustration by April V. Walters


Local Ice Cream Delivery: There’s an App for That

It’s going to be uncharacteristically hot and sweaty in San Francisco this week, and if we’re good at one thing in this fair city by the bay, it’s talking about the weather. Thankfully, we’re also really good at technology — building and using it. Enter Ice Cream Life,  a mobile app for ordering pints of Three Twins ice cream in San Francisco. It’s pretty standard — enter payment info, select a flavor, share your address, and wait for your ice cream delivery. But sometimes the tiniest good ideas are the sweetest. (Also. Chocolate peanut butter cup you are MINE.)


Yelp… Now with Reservations?

Would you use a Yelp reservations service? The company, which already owns reservation site SeatMe, launched its own free reservation service. The service will live on a restaurant’s Yelp page, but businesses can also use an associated widget on their own page. The service is meant for smaller businesses, or perhaps those that don’t do a ton of reservation business — for larger businesses, Yelp recommends its SeatMe service, which comes for a fee. Despite my feelings about Yelp generally, I like this move aimed at smaller and growing businesses, helping them participate in the current state of restaurant + tech affairs.

Unrelated but funny: Yelp now has a filter for restaurants that accept bitcoin. Why not?


You Have to Go to Applebees to Use This App

This new social networking app relies so heavily on your physical location that you have to be inside an Applebees restaurant to use it. That’s right, it’s a new social networking app… that only works inside an Applebees. Pretty sure about ten people will use this thing, meant for fans of the fast-casual chain. But it’s pretty funny. Good job, dude.


  • Tiny scanner will tell you, to a molecular level, what’s in your food — Business Insider
  • Photography from Modernist Cuisine coming to a Boston museum — Boston.com
  • Where the f*%& should you go to eat? This site will tell you. — WTFSIGTE
  • Q&A with a new food-specific crowdfunding platform — Food+Tech Connect

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