FLIPDISH: food to a living room near you, fast

Sometimes ordering a takeaway is not as simple as you’d like. Niamh O Regan speaks to FLIPDISH app co-creator James McCarthy on how the process is about to become a whole lot easierIt’s strange that in an age where people would find it odd to book flights or a taxi by telephone that calling a restaurant for a delivery is an ordinary thing that will gradually become as strange as calling to book cinema tickets, according to FLIPDISH co-creator James McCarthy. James and Conor McCarthy are two Dublin based brothers with an appetite for both food and business. They’ve created the food ordering app FLIPDISH, which launched in the App Store secretly on 10th November 2015 and officially on 25th November 2015. The “two tap ordering app” is designed to bring food to the door of hungry Dubliners with minimum disruption and maximum convenience. The app was inspired by the frustration that occurred when attempting to order a takeaway from a smartphone; having to input your address and credit card details every time you want a delivery, as opposed to it remembering the details like a website does. According to James, lots of apps are built by companies who start with desktop as their primary platform and so the way they see the world is still focused on that system. FLIPDISH reportedly makes the ordering process ten times faster and makes ordering dinner from your phone much easier. Without having to retype your credit card number three times because your fingers don’t always correspond to the tiny numbers on screen, you have more time to “chill and enjoy life”.
“As an Irish company we’re able to help Irish restaurants increase their business and have Irish people use the app”
The apparent difference between FLIPDISH and other ordering apps is the minimal time and personal cost to the consumer. The brothers wanted an app that “didn’t just work, but was a pleasure to use”. There’s no need to enter your name or email, simply your phone number when first ordering, and it is stored from then on. The app pinpoints you on the map using geolocation, not only giving you access to menus of restaurants in your area but also eliminating the need for you to enter your address. If it’s a particular meal you fancy instead of a particular restaurant, use of the search function will tell you all of the restaurants in your area serving “red curry”, for example. Once you determine what you want to eat you tap on the meal and then it comes to you, quite literally two taps away. The app also remembers what you order, making ordering a second time even quicker and easier.The icon and name of the app do not bear any particular significance, but James does describe a thought process of coming up with an appropriate name and imagining a plate being flipped and landing with a fully prepared delicious meal on top. The mascot of the app is a plate with legs, topped by a domed plate cover, giving the impression of speeding to a dinner table, jumping and flipping along roof tops just to deliver your food, “like a cloche that’s really good at parkour”.There of course is also a point of personal pride on the initiative of the app “as an Irish company we’re able to help Irish restaurants increase their business and have Irish people use the app”. FLIPDISH recognise that this has been a space dominated by UK and European companies, something they want to change. Not all restaurants in the surrounding area are necessarily featured however, it is not exactly clear what criteria must be matched but each restaurant is assessed on a case by case basis. At the moment the app is mostly focused on Dublin, where it currently covers over 600 restaurants, and the surrounding area; stretching to Bray and parts of Meath and Louth. The aim is not to be Dublin centric, but to expand countrywide with the recommendation of downloading the app even if you’re not focused in Dublin. You will be notified via the app when your part of the country is covered, which according to James, “shouldn’t be long at all”.Conor’s background is in computer software while James’ is in design, and both of these contributed hugely to the development of the app. Conor was an entrepreneur straight out of college and founded the first real money poker app for iOS in 2011. James’ experience with ecommerce certainly helped the marketing side but he says that the sheer quality of the product makes his job quite easy as it speaks for itself. In fact the most challenging part of creating the app was the length of the process involved.The FLIPDISH website has the invite to the app, but also hosts a blog featuring fellow successful Irish entrepreneurs and also some foodie people from around the country, recently featuring Kiz of the recently opened Thru The Green Coffee in Windy Arbour, Ruth and Stephen Deasy of Bear Market Café in Blackrock, and also Tom Gleeson the owner at Bunsen who himself is quite impressed with the app “From the point of view of a restaurant owner and a customer FLIPDISH will be a game changer.”While the app is currently only available for iOS, the Android app will be ready in a few months, but those interested can sign up on the website flipdish.ie to be notified when it will be available on Google Play. It is free to download now.