Wagamama launches ordering by iPhone: GET IN!

Now and again I find myself doing real consultancy in the City of London. Most of the time I work with mobile companies that need constant perspective, but not on a *daily* basis. That is, they don’t need me physically located in their office 5-days a week. But when I’m called upon to work ‘full time’ from 9-5pm (or, more likely, 9am-10pm), I do lunch with Wagamama.

Not all the time, but often. Wagamama is a ‘pan-asian’ restaurant chain that I’ve been thoroughly enjoying for a long time. I particularly like the fact that you can order online and then pick-up from the restaurant. It’s a painless process, especially when you pay by credit card online.

When I’m working crazy hours, it’s useful to be able to rely on the likes of Wagamama for sustenance across the day. They’ve got restaurants across the Square Mile and beyond.

Of course, there’s a problem with online ordering. If you’re using a corporate computer — as I am sometimes doing — then it’s not necessarily that professional to be seen arsing around on the Wagamama website, even if it is just for 2 minutes. Even if it’s your own laptop, it doesn’t look that good if you’re spending your consulting time ordering food. I know it’s literally 2 minutes to place an order, but all the same, I want to ensure I deliver a decent service level — and that can be undermined if your client walks in whilst you’re ordering a Chicken Katsu Curry with extra sauce.

Wagamama have addressed this issue — and the issue of ultra-immediate-convenience by launching their iPhone application:

wagamama iPhone app

It’s nicely designed, it’s entirely functional — the only issue I have is that I need to type in my credit card details each time. I’d like to see a user-login system for the next version that retains my card details.

One final point: Whilst I am absolutely delighted that restaurants such as Wagamama are delivering these kinds of service, I’m thoroughly disappointed that it’s *only* for the iPhone. There are millions of Nokia, Samsung, BlackBerry, Sony Ericsson and Motorola users in the UK. I recognise that it’s unrealistic to develop an app for every handset — but what about the leading smartphone platforms? Definitely BlackBerry, definitely Nokia, definitely Android too.

More please, Wagamama, more!

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

One reply on “Wagamama launches ordering by iPhone: GET IN!”

I came here to comment on the same point that you make in your last paragraph and am impressed and pleased that you have. This issue applies to ALL those companies jumping on the iPhone app bandwagon, which frankly most are doing (or will find they are doing) just to be trendy, 'with-it', keep up with the Joneses, and so on. They're definitely not doing it (or have been missadvised) if their main aim is to help customers, or increase revenue (at least according to potential, no matter what increases they see with an iPhone app).

Just the other day I asked around the mobile industry to try and suss the level of iPhone ownership out there, specifically in the UK, and in London. We know globally it's between 1% and 2%. So latest educated guesstimates from those in the know are about 5% in London and 3% in the UK as a whole.

So all those companies with their snazzy, funky, cool, trendy little iPhone apps are making 1%-5% of the mobile-owning population potentially happy, and completely ignoring the other 95% – 99%.

From which one can come to only one conclusion – these companies really ARE doing it to feel good about themselves, and trendy, and hip, and 'in there'. It can't possibly be for the customers, when you're denying almost all of your customers access to these services.

And the truth is, that there's a really simple, easy, cheap solution to offer just about all one's customers this sort of service, and it's simpler, easier, and cheaper to achieve I'd bet than having an app developed for any platform (including iPhone). It's called a mobile website. One that adapts live to the handset accessing if you're clever (using a free, defacto industry standard called WURFL, with WALL). Sure it wouldn't be as slick, cool, and snazzy as an iPhone app, but it could be perfectly usable and professional, keep everyone happy, and shock horror, incease revenue!

But hey, no one uses the web on their phones, do they!?

“Major milestone has passed, over half of internet access is now from mobile (says Nokia)”. “…it is inevitable that soon the majority of internet access will be from mobile phones. As we've reported here, in many Emerging World countries form Bangladesh to South Africa the ratio is more than 4 to 1 and as much as 10 to 1 where more mobile users access internet services (including WAP services) on their phones than on PCs. Even many advanced countries like Japan and Taiwan report the same milestone having passed. Now Nokia says the global milestone has passed.”

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