|By||http://e27.cohttp://e27.sg/2012/09/06/no-more-spending-long-queue-time-at-your-favourite-restaurant-with-the-new-ticktok-app/||| Sep 6, 2012 | Mobile|
The team of three developed and launched Ticktok, the first smartphone app that provides accurate and comprehensive queue time information on more than 10,000 food and beverage (F&B) establishments in Singapore. On top of queue time information, Ticktok also includes unique curation features such as “Worth the Wait” and “Our Picks” that will help users make better dining decisions on-the-go. Catering fully to the mobile lifestyle, Ticktok is sensitive to users’ location and will provide a variety of useful information on the nearest F&B outlets across popular categories- bistros, cafes, coffee shops, hawker centres, restaurants etc.
The team behind TickTok
Ticktok is developed by Appic Technologies and it is a startup founded by three person. They are Chong Zi Xin, Lee Jun Kiat and Tan Junguang. Within the company, Zi Xin is the head of technical development, Jun Kiat is the head of marketing and design and Junguang takes up the role of business development head. Appic Technologies received funding from Spring Singapore’s Yes! Startup Scheme, a government seed fund.
Traction so far
According to the team, Ticktok has a database of more than 8,000 F&B establishments with their queue times logged across various time intervals. These include bistros, cafes, coffee shops, hawker centres, restaurants and many more. The TickTok trio also conducted a beta pilot about two weeks ago and in the previous weekend, Ticktok made it to the top 20 lifestyle app listing on the iTunes app store.
Solving the chicken and egg problem
Of course, the same issue that every startup face: the chicken and egg problem of getting users onboard as well as motivating users to keep the queue times of the thousands of restaurants updated. The Ticktok team told us that they adopt a three pronged approach to tackle the issue.
“First, Ticktok will be a platform that relies heavily on crowdsourcing. We have created a framework that will encourage food lovers and queue enthusiasts to share their observations of queue time with the rest of the app users. Their inputs will be captured in real time and we have a sophisticated algorithm that interprets and amalgamates the input to come up with a best estimator for current queue conditions.”
“Just imagine that you are waiting in line for your favourite prawn noodles now in a crowded hawker centre during lunch time. Through Ticktok, you can instantly share how long you have waited or how long you will be expected to wait before being served. If you spot another queue nearby, you may also share the expected queueing time. In our opinion, users’ perception of queue time is more important than the actual queue times. As users share about their queueing experience, we also aim to foster a community of passionate Ticktok users. To kickstart this community of users who will be actively sharing queue times of their favourite food places, Ticktok is working with more than 60 merchant partners across the island to provide exciting rewards under Ticktok’s Food Review Programme (TFRP). TFRP will reward users who share accurate queue times of food places around them by giving out attractive digital vouchers at nearby participating restaurants in real-time. Users simply flash the digital voucher to redeem benefits on the spot. After claiming the voucher’s benefits, users will be encouraged to write a simple food review describing whether a particular place is worth the wait in 160 characters or less.”
“Secondly, our merchant partners also have access to the merchant version of Ticktok and through it, they will be able to directly inform customers about queue times and update their shop’s status (open/ closed today (lunch)/ closed today (dinner)/ sold out) accordingly. Thirdly, we also send out teams of queue auditors to perform periodic checks and moderate existing data- ensuring relevance and accuracy.”
Ticktok Food Review Programme spinning into a loyalty app like Perx or Squiryl?
The TFRP programme sounds a lot like a loyalty app, but the team at Ticktok reassured us that they are not the same.
“Ticktok and specifically, TFRP, is very different from the likes of Perx and Squiryl; while Ticktok offers rich informative value to users on food, it also stands out from the usual food review sites. TFRP rewards a user based on how much the user has contributed to the community- either by sharing queue time information or reviewing a particular place is worth waiting for.”
“Unlike the loyalty players mentioned, there will not be direct out-of-pocket costs involved for our users. At the same time, TFRP does not preclude our users from only patronising our merchant partners but they are encouraged to do so through very attractive dining promotions. These attractive promotions are in the form of digital vouchers that are pushed out to our users based on their existing locations. By doing so, we try to encourage our users to try out new food places and increase our promotion’s relevance. This would also drive traffic to Ticktok’s merchant partners and help establish a long run win-win relationship.”
Moving ahead, Ticktok will be a crowdsourced platform and we are working on additional features that will help users’ make better dining decisions.
Will it work?
So will it work in Singapore, a food haven for foodies? If all the foodies come together onto the app and actively updates the queue time for the foodies community, this app could possibly help make our lives a bit easier. But that is a big if. This is definitely a bold attempt to help address the issue of long queues in Singapore.