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How to skip the line for faster service at coffee shops and cafes

How ‘Hangry’ are you? Hangry is the new app designed by two McMaster University grads who have figured out a way to skip the line to get faster service at cafe's and coffee shops. Now they take their invention the the CBC's Dragons Den.

New app lets you text, pay and pick up

Hangry app creators, Mark Scattolon (left) and Fabian Raso (right) at Hamilton's Lion's Lair competition. (Lion's Lair Hamilton)

A good bagel can change the world.

There's a new app that could let you skip the line at cafe's and coffee shops and get that bagel in your hands sooner. And it all started with a university student staring down a long line for breakfast.

Hangry was designed by two university students who were tired of waiting in line for food. They wanted a more convenient way to get their food fast.

Some days we think we're on top of the world, other days not so much.- Mark Scattolon

Fabian Raso was in line at a cafe on campus at Queens University in Kingston, Ont. waiting to order his 'usual' for breakfast. His friend, Mark Scattolon, was in class at McMaster University in Hamilton, more than 300 km away, when he sent a text to Raso, asking if he could pick him up some food too.

Raso got the joke and an idea: "Why can't he just text the restaurant himself?"

The friends decided to create an app that would do just that. And that's Hangry — because waiting for food when you're hungry makes you angry. Hangry.

Scattolon says "this is exactly what the app is for, for those who simply cannot wait and need their food now."

Here's how it works: You text in your order. Pay for it. Pick it up when it's ready.

There's a little more to it. Scattolon figured out that by using the app to collect analytical data about the consumer's demographics and order behavior, they we're really on to something. With that data they were able to offer incentives to consumers like discounts and a point system for every dollar spent.

That made it attractive to local restaurants. The restaurants can initiate a push marketing platform where they can target what the consumers are ordering and offer promotions.

Dragons Den

Last week, Hangry took their app onto the CBC's Dragons Den to record and episode that will air in the fall.

"We are curious to see how 'hangry' the Dragons are," said Scattolon.

In 2014, the Hangry app was chosen as one of the top 10 finalists for Lions Lair, a Hamilton business incubator competition like CBC's Dragon's Den. They won a $15,000 prize and a chance to use that money to see their business grow.

So far 25 restaurants across Hamilton and Toronto have signed on since its launch in January and they're looking for more. One of the challenges has been getting customers to trust the technology.

"Some days we think we're on top of the world, other days not so much" Scattolon said. The key was "constantly developing the app and adding new features to enrich consumer experience."

Restaurants join for free but customers pay a "small fee for convenience."

Scattolon says "people won't bat an eyelash if you're willing to save them time in their day."

Convenience to customers

Andrew Novak, owner and manager of Umami Sushi in Toronto, said that the app has been a big hit so far.

"It's another convenience to offer to my customers," said Novak.

"Ultimately, if my customers are happy and they find it convenient, it becomes a bonus for me."

​Novak said that it really is about keeping the customers happy. The app allows customer to have a quicker in and out experience that cuts down on their time.

"In today's business, getting to offer extra services to my customers is a great opportunity."

Paul Birrell, president of Delivery Now, a restaurant and marketing delivery association, says statistics show online ordering for take out is smaller than online ordering for delivery.

"Take out is for the person who is in motion and constantly moving, delivery is for the person using the app at home."

​Birrell said the app is more convenient for those who are on the go, not so much for those at home as they are more likely to choose delivery.

However, he said looking at their model it is beneficial and a great marketing tool for restaurants, as content drives traffic.

​Birrell said the app is essentially a portal, where you can order from many different restaurants all from one place.

"What Hangry is doing is different. Hangry is uniquely positioning itself to provide content for restaurants for free compared to other apps," said Birrell.

"And since it doesn't have any borders, and not limited to any particular territory, it leaves the possibility to have the app anywhere and everywhere in the world."

Ultimately, Birrell said it's a huge untapped market and they're definitely on to something.

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