OK, so the geniuses over at Hubworks totally stole my idea that I had back in the mid to late 1990s of enabling Internet ordering, POS integration and table-side payment. Although my idea employed standard PC technology, I'll relinquish my litigation rights only because they're such cool people. But, I'm watching you, Hubworks so tread lightly on this hallowed ground, which I've claimed as my turf.
Hubworks touts one of "their innovations" thusly: "FoodHub is an iPad ordering platform that can integrate with your restaurant’s point-of-sale system. Guests can order items off the menu, play games, connect with social media, and pay at the table when they are ready to go. FoodHub eliminates wait times and makes your restaurant more efficient, thus increasing your revenues while creating a unique customer experience. Your customers will love it… and so will you."
Yeah, yeah, whatever. I thought of it more than a decade ago but they're the ones making all the bank off of it. OK, so I didn't do anything with my idea nor did they steal it from me directly, but still, I feel slighted on the whole thing.
The rest of their shtick is the same old, same old, "We developed this fancy shmancy thingamajig for the iPad (technology du jour) and gosh we're really impressed with it and you should be too."
OK, sure, it's cute. They came up with this frame thingy that allows them to plug into an iPad, take orders, pay, play games, blah, blah, blah.
I did rather enjoy talking to Aaron Gabriel and Sam Something-or-other from Hubworks. They kept me mildly entertained while I was counting up the millions of rubles that I missed out on by not marketing my idea to someone in Silicon Valley. OK, so they hail from the bustling metropolis of Coeur d' Alene, Idaho (Heart of Alene?)--but that's really not important right now.
Yes, I did give them some grief about stealing my idea. And, yes, this is about me, not them.
I am impressed that their animated web site works with Safari on my iPad. It's actually a good idea to have it work on an iPad, since that's the technology that they're peddling to restaurants and bars. I think that if I had a bar or restaurant, I'd probably buy into their solution just because it's so cool. I like the thought of using iPads for orders, payments and whatever else comes to mind. It's a better idea than mine although I think that my idea would have evolved into their idea as technology also evolved.
I just don't want these whippersnappers to get a bloated head over the whole thing, since, of course, I thought of it first. A fact that I'll personally never let them forget.
My idea was far more elegant than theirs. I was going to build custom tables for the Buckaneer bar, here in Tulsa, that included a full computer with keyboard and trackball--all spillproof--for the protection of all the drunks that hang out there. We were going to have online ordering, specials that scrolled across the screens and numbered tables so that you could 'chat up' the hotties at another table, inlcuding (but not limited to) sending drinks their way, hooking up and so on. Use your imagination.
Oh sure, they chuckled at the 'old man' who waxed poetic about the misspent years of his youth to them on the phone about the "one that got away" and were somewhat polite about it all. But, in the end, it's their game, their App, their invention and their idea that will revolutionize the restaurant industry. Seriously.
This is the stuff that former waiters, such as myself and them, only dreamed of back in the now nostalgic 1980s (OK 90s or 00s for them--ugh). I wish Aaron and Sam the best in their endeavors. I think their idea and product are awesome. It appears that there's a season for everything. I was ahead of my time. No one cares. The time has arrived for them. I'm merely an observer and a reporter.
Hubworks is an excellent product and service for restaurants of all sizes and configurations from Mom and Pops up to large chains. It's not a gimmick, it's technology. Real and efficient. And, what's better than that? It's compatible with your current POS system.
I only wish some of my favorite restaurants/haunts would use their technology. Maybe I wouldn't spend a lot of my time saying, "Excuse me, my order is wrong."
Until I see some young filly sporting an iPad in my favorite restaurants and clubs, I'll continue to lament the technoblunders of my younger days and to endure order problems that plague me.
Thanks guys, it was a fun interview. Remember to comment on Hubworks when you see an iPad in use at your favorite restaurant or hangout. And, remember to dedicate a toast to me, Ken Hess, the real inventor of in-house, online ordering technology.