One of the biggest changes brought on as a result of COVID-19 and the pandemic, was the push towards digital solutions for everyday tasks; what used to be a paper or plastic menu at your favourite pub or restaurant, became a QR code to a PDF copy of the menu for example.
But there was no escaping queuing at the bar or counter to place your order, or perhaps returning to the counter to collect your food. Or perhaps you’re sick of trying to catch the waiter’s attention as they walk around the venue serving other customers.
Enter me&u – who describe themselves in three words – Tap, Order & Pay – it’s even written on the table beacons!
It starts with a big ‘puck’ – usually attached to the table (though some venues I’ve seen they haven’t been attached, which could lead to some fun if they move across tables), featuring the universal QR code – fire up your camera app and scan the QR code, away you go.
But for fun, it also has an NFC tag – so if your phone supports it, just hold it near the top to start. And it seems each venue can customise their beacon – whether it’s their colours, including a venue logo, or table numbers (rather than stuck on labels). But they’re still distinctive enough to know how to order.
One differentiation between me&u and other options you might find at other venues, like Mr Yum, is having an ‘actual’ app rather than relying on a website for ordering and payment. Of course, you might be sick of apps and be happy with a website, or you might find using an app a more reliable experience. But me&u has both iPhone and Android apps to use.
Of course, you can also open the app and scan the QR code or beacon from in there too.
And once that’s done, you get lovely menus – with pretty photos (so you actually know what to expect when you’re ordering), separated by food, drinks or organised how the venue wants.
Being digital, there’s also more smarts (and personalisation, of course) in play – eg suggestions and menus can differ at time of day, be it coffee instead of beer in the morning, suggestions for food based on your drinks (chips to go with your beer?), or suggestions on what to order based off your previous orders.
Naturally, Apple Pay is a payment method available when using the iPhone app, and since you’re paying me&u directly, rather than the venue – you may find that you can use your American Express card in me&u but not at the bar. A little more annoying is the payment fee – while I understand this obviously helps cover costs, it can be a tad frustrating if there’s no payment fee applied when paying with the same card at the counter.
You get a nice digital receipt that appears in your ‘Order History’ of the app – making it easy to remember your favourite drinks or meals, at your favourite venues
And of course, when you tap the beacon again or scan the QR code, the app makes it easy to reorder another round with the drinks from your last order.
As a customer, I love me&u – I get to take my time to browse the menu, order what I like (with any customisations available), and not leave the table and spend time waiting in a queue to order.
As a business, they get to spend their time making drinks or food, talking to customers when delivering orders, or spending time with customers at the bar who might have questions or like to talk to a mixologist behind the bar – rather than spending time taking orders from people ordering the standard stuff on tap.
But is it worth it for a business? It must be – based on the number of ‘success stories‘ on their website and the large chains of hotels and hospitality chains rolling out me&u.
We can get a sneak peak at the fees and costs involved (thanks to a partnership with ClubsNSW page), like $500/venue in training and setup, $99/monthly fee, $900/venue in photography, and 5% commission – I guess the sheer volume of increased orders, and opportunities for upselling or more expensive orders more than make up for the costs involved.
The one feature I’d love from me&u… would be a venue finder either in their app or website, to help pick venues I know I can pick a table and order a few rounds without having to leave my seat!