An Altrincham businessman has used lockdown to come up with an app that allows customers in restaurants and pubs to order straight to their table.
The government this week announced that Covid-19 restrictions would be easing to allow pubs and restaurants to open from July 4th.
And further advice published by the government yesterday encourages “use of contactless ordering from tables where available… for example, through an ordering app”.
Pritesh Chauhan is an audiologist who usually runs Altrincham Hearing Centre on The Downs in the town centre.
But with the centre closed down for lockdown, he teamed up with two friends to design and develop an app called Trof.
Trof allows hospitality businesses to operate a table or click-and-collect service from any device, thereby minimising face-to-face contact in line with social distancing guidelines.
Customers can browse the menu, order and pay, then have their food and drinks delivered to their table, all from their phone.
Chauhan is looking to release the not-for-profit app – the only cost is a transaction fee to the payment provider – just in time for businesses to reopen next month.
He explained: “The best way to describe it is a marketplace for all businesses to use, free of charge.
“It’s mainly intended for pubs and restaurants. There are three partners, myself and two of my friends. We’ve all had some form on input in terms of what the end product is going to be.
“There’s quite a few out now that are doing the same thing but there’s nobody that’s doing it for free. This is just an idea that we came up with that’s non-profit.
“When it comes to hospitality and leisure, they’ve sort of got the shorter straw out of all this in my opinion, and this is something that will help them get back on their feet.”
Chauhan, who launched Altrincham Hearing Centre in 2017 having previously worked at global hearing aid manufacturer Phonak, said the app would be simple to use.
“You choose your location and add whatever you want from the basket,” he said. “Then it will ask for your table number or whether you want to click and collect from the bar. You pay with Apple pay or card.
“The vendor will require a tablet, it doesn’t need to be anything high-spec, then they’ll get a notification saying there’s an order there which they accept. They then click again when it’s ready and the customer will either get a notification to say that it’s on its way or its ready to be collected.”
He said the app would not be collecting or storing customer details, adding: “At the moment it’s a free platform for businesses to use. Eventually we will be hoping for the business to make some form of money but that will never be from the vendors or from the consumers.”