Pizza restaurant launches Spain’s first virtual waiter app


Employees pick up the pizzas near an iPad with the Funky Pay app, which helps tracking orders of clients and where, with a system of colours, clients can see when it is in the kitchen or when it will be arriving, at Funky Pizza restaurant, where the app replaces waiters, in Palafrugell, near Girona, Costa Brava, Spain. — Reuters

PALAFRUGELL, Spain: A restaurant on Spain’s northeastern Mediterranean coast is pioneering a dining experience that allows customers to avoid most face-to-face contact with staff and minimise the risk of coronavirus contagion.

A client using his mobile phone scans the QR code to place an order of a pizza with its ingredients through of the Funky Pay app, where the app replaces waiters at Funky Pizza restaurant in Palafrugell, near Girona, Costa Brava, Spain. — ReutersA client using his mobile phone scans the QR code to place an order of a pizza with its ingredients through of the Funky Pay app, where the app replaces waiters at Funky Pizza restaurant in Palafrugell, near Girona, Costa Brava, Spain. — Reuters

Customers at Funky Pizza, in Palafrugell on the Costa Brava popular with tourists, can browse the menu, order and pay via the Funky Pay app on their phones – the first time a purpose-designed app has been integrated into a restaurant’s ordering system in Spain.

A waiter does bring the order to the table.

Manich poses as he holds his mobile phone with the Funky Pay app in one hand and a pizza in the other, at Funky Pizza restaurant, where the app replaces waiters, in Palafrugell, near Girona, Costa Brava, Spain. — ReutersManich poses as he holds his mobile phone with the Funky Pay app in one hand and a pizza in the other, at Funky Pizza restaurant, where the app replaces waiters, in Palafrugell, near Girona, Costa Brava, Spain. — Reuters

"Through this system we have tried to keep physical distance with our clients, which is what people are looking for during Covid," said restaurant owner Carlos Manich.

Staff manage the orders from screens behind the bar.

An employee uses the Funky Pay app as he receives all the incoming orders of clients as his mate puts a pizza in an oven, at Funky Pizza restaurant, where the app replaces waiters, in Palafrugell, near Girona, Costa Brava, Spain. — ReutersAn employee uses the Funky Pay app as he receives all the incoming orders of clients as his mate puts a pizza in an oven, at Funky Pizza restaurant, where the app replaces waiters, in Palafrugell, near Girona, Costa Brava, Spain. — Reuters

The restaurant has had to adapt to social distancing rules by becoming table service only and reminding customers on entry they must wear face masks at all times when not at their tables.

"The application is very user-friendly... and you can also track your order and see when it is in the kitchen or when it will be arriving," said Claudia Medina, 26, eating at the restaurant.

But some customers disagreed. "I think we lose the feeling with the waiter, for example when you order you can’t ask about different preferences or quantities," said customer Javier Comas, 26. – Reuters

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