Mahmud Wazihullah (Wazi) is a busy guy. He’s Director of the Entrepreneurship Institute at Mercy College here in Manhattan, and he not only runs the Institute: he also teaches business courses. A Stanford MBA, he chairs the New York chapter of the school’s alumni club. Oh, and he recently launched a startup of his own. Let’s Order Now is a site that lets you order lunch with co-workers or neighbors. And while anyone can start the order or add to an existing one, everyone pays separately online, so there are no arguments or advanced mathematics degrees necessary when the bill comes. It’s already been taken care of separately, by each person who orders, when they order. Members also earn rewards points that can be put towards free meals, or towards making a charitable donation.
Basically, think of Let’s Order Now as your online office cafeteria and a service that gives new meaning to the term ‘social order.’
Wazi started the company about a year and a half ago, and officially launched beta on December 12, 2012, entering a space that the competition already ‘owned.’ Then again, Yahoo! ‘owned’ search, until Google came along and not only took over the space: the Google name itself became eponymous with search.
LON has been steadily growing ever since.
“The alternatives had a 14 year head start and they can’t do what Let’s Order Now can do,” Wazi explained, referring to the fact that restaurants require a $15 minimum order. “We get $5 and $10 orders that restaurants would otherwise miss, but because, say 7B is ordering, too, so problem solved!”
Group ordering also saves on delivery and energy costs, and restaurants pass those savings along to LON customers.
“There’s no more fighting over the bill or having to do the math when you’re splitting it,” Wazi continued. “Everyone pays his or her own part. The food gets there. Everyone’s name is on his or her own food, and there’s no more trying to sort out who ordered the teriyaki chicken.”
Members also earn Let’s Order Now Rewards Points when they get friends or restaurants to sign up. The LON value to restaurants is that it lowers the cost of food production and delivery, and gives them complimentary social marketing. So when you order through LON, there’s something for everyone.
“People love it,” said Wazi. “Group ordering saves everyone money. For example, we had someone order a $1.34 spring roll. Seven other people jumped on and ordered other things. That spring roll came out to .99 plus tax and tip. You couldn’t do that with Seamless!”
As an extra incentive, frequent customers are eligible to put their LON Reward Points towards gifts, to provide food for the needy, or to donate to the charity of their choice. Or, of course, cash them in for a meal.
So whether it’s for yourself or for someone in need, Let’s Order Now disproves the theory that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.