Texting Food Orders Makes Cutting in Line OK

It used to be your mother told you butting in line was not polite.

Now a growing number of soccer moms and other adults on the run have found a hi-tech way to jump to the head of the line.

Using their cell phones, they're now texting their orders to fast-food restaurants to buy what they would typically have to wait in line to purchase.

So now, for example, when they arrive at their neighborhood Dunkin' Donuts, their coffee is waiting for them, not the other way around.

Monica Schaffer, of Diversified Media Design, promotes Gomobo.com, the company that makes this happen. Not surprisingly, she uses the technology herself.

"It is such a time saver," Schaffer said. "One push and send and it's gone. And I can walk to Dunkin' Donuts and pick it up. It's a no-brainer."

Here's the time-consuming part.

Customers have to first sign up at Gomobo.com. They give their credit card number and they enter their favorite choices at say, participating Subway shops or Dunkin' Donuts locations.

Once they enter that information, they're ready to go. They simply text message the franchise directly, enter a code and the business transaction takes place over the cell phone. And your fast food is ready faster than you can get there.

"The real advantage is that both ordering and payment are done in one text message," said Noah Glass, the 25-year-old founder of Gomobo.com. "And with one button, the business sends a text message back with the exact time the order will be ready. The customer knows exactly when to show up."

Glass assures prospective customers that the payment technology is secure. It is similar to the technology Amazon.com and Fandango.com, which lets customers order movie tickets before arriving at the movie theater, use. Glass said a customer must make the purchase from the phone registered to his or her account, which adds an extra layer of security.

So what happens when you get there and there's already a line?

"Gomobo.com has its own counter," Schaffer said. "You skip the line when you get to the restaurant to pick it up."

So far, a number of Dunkin' Donuts, Ben and Jerry's and Subway franchises have signed up with Gomobo.com.

Is there an added cost to the consumer? The company said standard text-messaging fees, determined by your cell phone carrier, apply.

Gomobo.com plans to move well beyond fast food.

"The trend is to use mobile technology to make your life easier," Schaffer said. "That extends to hailing a taxi to conducting bank transactions through text messaging."

The CEO of Mytango.com said his company has already tried that, creating what Terry Erisman calls a "peer to peer payment system."

Any customer with a Mytango account can pay another account holder by simply sending a text message.

Mytango, launched in the San Francisco area in the spring, also allows customers to text their food orders to 13 restaurants. Right now, Gomobo.com is available in a small number of cities. It has linked up with 24 restaurants in New York City and New Haven, Conn.

Glass said seven of his top 10 customers are middle-aged women not in the technology industry.

They are part of a demographic much more far-reaching.

They are moms for whom time is as precious as their cup of coffee.

ABC's Grace Huang contributed to this report.

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