You’ve arrived at the Hangry pick up booth, and your hot, juicy, burger with extra pickles is sitting there waiting for you to pick it up.
You scan your order code on the Hangry scanner, and you take your food that you are SO ready to eat.
You sit down at a table with your friends, open the bag, and get ready to take the biggest bite of your delicious burger that you didn’t have to wait in line for…
All the while, never knowing…. The story, the team, and the seamless algorithm that went in to getting that burger from your Hangry mind, to your phone, to the kitchen, and into your hands.
Well.. put down the burger, we’ll tell you how it got there.
This story starts with a Hangry law student from Queens named Fabian, who just wanted his morning coffee before heading to class.
It was exam time, Fabian was impatient, and the guy in front of him in line was ordering 5 or 6 items for his friends who were TEXTING him their orders.
Fabian was looking at his phone, this guy was looking at his.
All Fabian wanted was his Caramel Macchiato that he ordered every day from the same barista.
Fabian knew what he wanted.
The barista knew what he wanted.
But he had to sit there, in line, waiting his turn.
And it is here, where Fabian’s mind first started to scratch the Hangry surface.
The Mobile Ordering Surface.
Facebook didn’t have a mobile app, and Starbucks had yet to introduce their Mobile Wallet…
Hangry was born.
Five Years Later, The Hangry Mobile Ordering Platform has developed a seamless algorithm that allows students, like Fabian, to order their coffee from their phone, and pick it up when they’re ready without ever having to wait in line.
How Hangy Ordering Works
- A student builds their order using the Hangry App
- They then link their credit or meal plan card to their account, and click ‘Pay at Checkout’
- This order is then automatically printed out at the kitchen, where the order is immediately made
- Once the order is completed, the Kitchen hits one button on their tablet that notifies the student that their order is ready for pick-up
- Once the student receives this message, they arrive at the designated pick up area for their food
How do you Ensure orders are ready to be picked up at their designated times?
Hangry uses an algorithm to predict their estimated pick up time. Once the student hits ‘confirm order’, a little blue bubble will show up on their screen that tells them the time in which their order will be ready (i.e. 12 minutes)
The Algorith Starts With…
An estimated prep time for every single item in the system. Each item has two prep times, one for NORMAL mode, and one for BUSY mode.
What is Busy mode?
A turkey breast combo from subway may have a prep time of 5 minutes, but when this item is ordered during a busy time of day, or when the kitchen is experiencing a higher number of orders, the kitchen can set their system to ‘Busy Mode’ jumping the turkey breast combo prep time from 5 minutes to 10.
The Algorithm Recipe
There are many different aspects of the ordering process that the Algorithm takes into account to ensure a seamless ordering process. This recipe includes
- A prep time for every individual item on the menu
- Time of Day
- Order History (i.e. what happened the previous Monday at a specific location)
- How many orders are currently in the queue
- All information from the restaurants current POS system
The more information our algorithm gets, the smarter its get, and the more accurate it will be.
The more information we receive, the more data points are created in order to develop accurate wait and prep times. So the ‘5 minute’ pre-set we gave that turkey sandwich originally, may change based on all these patterns.
The Handy ‘Two Minute Buffer’ and Grouping
Once all these presets are put in place, we then introduce the Two Minute Buffer. This accounts for human error and does not affect food quality.
For example, we tell the staff an item is going to be ready in ten minutes, and we tell the student it’s going to be ready in 12 minutes. This is why we see 99% of our orders on time.
In addition, Hangry can improve efficiency by grouping similar orders. If there are 3 or 4 chicken sandwiches in the queue, we can take those orders and disperse them to the kitchen all at once. Our algorithm takes this grouping into account when estimating prep times.
At the end of the day, this app was built so students can get where they need to be without waiting in line. That is why Hangry provides a very transparent ordering process that notifies students about their order every step of the way.
- When the order is submitted, they get a confirmation that their order was received
- When the order is set to the kitchen, they get a notification letting them know their order is being prepared
- When their order in ready, they get a message letting them know to come pick it up
We also allow the staff to communicate with the students. The staff is able to hit a button on their table to let the student know it’s going to be an extra few minutes for their order if they need it. This will then bump the estimated pick up time for that order. This allows the student to receive the message and not have them waiting around the Hangry booth for their meal. This is ideal for students ordering from class, or the library.
What was once a small idea created from impatience and a burning desire for a caramel macchiato, is now a seamless mobile ordering platform that allows students to order their food from anywhere, and pick it up without ever having to wait in line.
Okay you can eat your burger now.
Find us and our algorithm at these upcoming conferences:
National Association of College Auxiliary Services (NACAS Central): June 11 – 14
National Association of College Auxiliary Services (NACAS East): June 18 – 21
Canadian College and University Food Services Association (CCUFSA): June 29 – July 3
National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS National): July 12 – 15
National Association of College Auxiliary Services (NACAS National): Nov 5 – 8
Stop by and say hi! We love new friends.