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NishNash rather nifty

By ameyers

Section: Arts

April 20, 2007

In the past, ordering out has often resulted in confusion and misinterpretation. Ordering food over the phone is more popular now than ever, as over fifty percent of all restaurant business is done off-premises. Being put on hold, not having a menu handy to pick out the coveted dish and giving out the proper directions for delivery can often result in a headache for both orderer and the restaurant itself. A website created by two former Brandeis students, Dan Peguine 06 and Adam Gries 06, in December 2005, NishNash.com, seeks to remedy these problems. Upon graduating from Brandeis, Peguine and Gries made [managing] NishNash a full-time job. The site allows users to peruse menus of various restaurants in the Boston area, order food online, read reviews and avoid the telephone call entirely, at no extra charge.

Many restaurants that will deliver to Brandeis are posted on NishNash. Twelve restaurants in Waltham and more than 120 in the surrounding area are currently available. Prices for every dish on the menu are listed for every restaurant, along with hours of operation and location. Users can designate both the kind of food they want and the town they want it from. They are able to use both delivery and take-out service to get their food. Hungry students can also pay with either cash or credit card, and make additional comments for every item they order (such as holding the onions from a sandwich). Interested diners are able to simply click on what they want to order. After creating an account, I was able to order my meal from a Waltham Chinese restaurant in less than a minute, the only problem being the decision of which free appetizer to select.

Of course, not everything is perfect. The problem that seems the most imminent to NishNashs whole process is the time of delivery. Yet after using the site twice, I received my meal after about a twenty-five to forty minute wait, a fairly reasonable time to wait. Orders go directly to the restaurant, not a middleman. NishNash also estimates the delivery time, and sends a confirmation email after the order has been placed.

The site has a few kinks that it needs to work out, as it is still relatively new, but overall it has proven quite effective. NishNash has set out to bridge the gap between those who are technologically savvy and those who prefer the old-fashioned methods of ordering food . The two founders asserted that through research, they have found that only about 25% of restaurants in the U.S. have a website. That means diners cannot find important information such as restaurant menus for the vast majority of restaurants. The idea of being able to see the menu of any restaurant online in the near future is a promising one.

NishNash was an obvious choice, because it solved a global problem, and provided a major challenge — how does one collect, organize and present so much information… commented Peguine and Gries on their business idea.

For traditionalists, talking on the phone directly to another human being isnt a big deal and is almost second nature. However, if you are comfortable with technology and want to quickly order food, give NishNash a try. At the very least, NishNash is a useful way for consumers to gain a better idea of what to expect from restaurants in the local area, as a list of available entrees, how much they cost and reviews are all easily accessible.

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