Dining out at a restaurant can be a welcome respite from the hectic pace of life, but certain aspects of the ritual can feel like a waste of time. Waiting to order and then waiting to pay can add 15 or 20 minutes to a meal. When time is tight, that's the difference between being able to eat out or having to settle for delivery.
If only a way existed that would allow diners to show up, sit down, and receive food promptly by ordering their meals in advance. As it so happens, there's an app for that, and it's just launched in Houston.
Allset, a San Francisco-based service that takes the hassle out of dining out, has arrived in the Bayou City. The concept is simple: Users book a table, pre-order, and pre-pay for a meal before setting foot in the restaurant. Simply schedule through the mobile app (for Android and iPhone) or online.
The best part? The service is free for diners. Allset charges restaurants a 12-percent commission on each order, but the app, at least in theory, allows diners to schedule meals they otherwise wouldn't have time for. Allset claims meals can be completed in as little as 30 minutes.
"Unlike many other companies, we don't do delivery or takeout. We’re passionate about restaurants and focus on dine-in experiences," Allset CEO Stas Matviyenko said in a statement. "We believe that going out and eating a nice meal at a restaurant makes our life more enjoyable and productive. But today people dine out a lot less than before because they’re too busy. So we decided to make the restaurant dining experience more convenient and easily accessible for busy restaurant lovers."
At launch, about 30 Houston-area restaurants are using Allset. Overall, the choices may be a little underwhelming — the highest profile are both locations of Mala Sichuan, the Vintage Park location of Peli Peli, and British Indian pub London Sizzler — but Matviyenko tells CultureMap in an email that the company is working to recruit more options inside the Loop. The company plans to add approximately 30 more locations over the next month.
The idea might seem kind of niche, but investors are betting the company can disrupt dining in the same way Uber changed transportation. Allset has raised over $8 million to date.