At 12:39 p.m. I sent a very simple tweet of the bento box emoji. Forty-eight minutes later I was eating a bento box for lunch that had just been delivered to my office. These are the days of our lives.
It was all thanks to Fooji, a new food delivery service currently in beta testing in New York City. The concept is that you tweet their handle (@GoFooji) a picture of what you want to eat -- and just the picture -- and they’ll take care of the ordering, payment and delivery (after you enter that information the first time). You’re at their mercy for what they order based on what you ask for, but it’s all $15 no matter what, including tax and tip.
“We came up with the idea literally right after we heard about Dominos doing their pizza emoji-based ordering,” co-founder Gregg Morton told ABC News. “We thought it was a novel idea and cool, but very limiting to just use a pizza emoji. Why not do the entire menu of emoji characters available? So that’s where the idea was born.”
Morton said he frequently spent too much time browsing Seamless deciding what to order for lunch -- he called it the “Netflix syndrome” -- so he wanted to come up with an alternative.
“On a weekly basis we’ll assign food emojis to a top item to a top restaurant in the area. It will be the closest approximation, and we’ll take into account what is the most popular or featured item from the restaurant,” he explained. “We also have a wild card option, so if you have no idea what you want, we have a fork and knife emoji where we’ll pick the most popular item of the day and order it for you.”
Morton and his team (including co-founder Erik Zamudio) use their own technology to receive and choose the order and rely on Grub Hub and Seamless for the fulfillment and delivery portion.
Today I chose the bento box emoji, purposefully picked because it could have been a huge variety of things. I ended up receiving the pretty standard chicken teriyaki with rice, miso soup, salad, a California roll and fruit. It was a lot of food, delicious and incredibly satisfying, and as I opened the bag, I felt like I was opening a special gift since I had no idea what was inside.
If I didn’t like teriyaki sauce? Too bad. Fooji does not take preferences or allergies into account, so this service is definitely not for the picky or sensitive eaters out there. It’s a tweet-at-your-own-risk situation.
Just like Morton hoped, I did feel a certain sense of relief at not having to choose from the hundreds of options near my office on New York City’s Upper West Side. The receipt on my meal was for $11.89, so I suppose I could have saved a few bucks ordering it myself, but where’s the fun in that?
Would I want to do this every day? No. I enjoy planning my meals too much for that. But I can see it being novel every so often.
The service plans to launch the third week of June and only in lower Manhattan at first (with dessert for $8 coming soon), so it’s limited to start, but I’m looking forward to when they expand uptown again.
Until then, I’ll think of it as another reason to keep petitioning for a taco emoji.