When you only have an hour for lunch, you really don’t want to spend most of that in line waiting. Portland, Maine-based Veebie is trying to solve this issue with mobile self-service kiosks that hold pre-ordered food for people to quickly pick up during their break.
Veebie rolled out (pardon the pun) it’s first kiosk in downtown Portland earlier this week. The bright orange containers on wheels have 48 numbered cubbies. Order your food through Veebie on your phone and pick it up from your assigned cubby between 11:30 and 1:30. The menu features items from a different restaurant every day, so today (Thursday), for example, the items available are from B.Good.
Company Co-Founder and CEO Steven Sperry is an entrepreneur-in-residence at Venture Hall, a Maine-based tech accelerator. Sperry told the Press-Herald that while they are starting Portland, Veebie is looking to expand into other markets outside of Maine, and broaden its use of technology, including incorporating self-driving carts.
Looking at the Veebie web site, you can see the company is still very much early stage. Right now, the kiosks do not have an automated locking system (that you could unlock with your phone, say), so there are attendants on duty. It only offers cold food now, nothing hot, and you place an order by visiting veebie.me on a browser on your phone, rather than a dedicated app.
But it’s easy to envision Veebie ramping up quickly and dispensing self-driving carts to convenient locations across cities. Focusing on lunch is a good idea as most people during that hour are interested in efficiency and speed.
The company is not alone, however, in its mission to maximize lunch times. You can use any number of apps to order food online in advance. Earlier this week, Allset raised $5 million to expand its reservation+pre-order and pay service. Office vending machines are getting smarter and holding fresher ingredients. And, of course, robots are coming to
take over the world deliver your lunch.