Food Industry

URGE Miami: The Future of Delivery

You're enjoying a day at the beach roasting in the hot sun and occasionally dipping in the ocean. Then hunger rears its ugly head. But leaving the beach just isn't an option. Got an iPhone or a Droid phone? Download URGE Miami, the app that delivers anywhere.

URGE doesn't actually deliver for the restaurants. To be more specific, URGE is a service that brings restaurants to its customers, no matter where they're at using location based on GPS coordinates given by their phones.

Customers use an App they can download free for their iOS or Android devices, although a Web interface can be used as well. Using the keywords "Miami food delivery", the URGE application is at the top of the list.

To see which restaurants are available for delivery, all the customer has to do is input their address into the application and a list of places that deliver will show up, along with their menus, estimated delivery times, delivery fees, order minimums and how they are rated among other patrons.

When an order comes in, the restaurant receives a map showing where the customer is located, usually within 20-30 feet, along with their order and other details, like customer description.

Whether or not a restaurant is visible on the service at the time of the search depends on three things: if the restaurant delivers, if they are open and if they are signed up with URGE.

Peter Schatzberg, a Miami transplant who started URGE, receives a commission from each order the restaurant makes when a customer uses his service.

"The most important thing a restaurant receives from URGE is the online exposure generated by being associated with a company with such a strong online presence," says Schatzberg. "Restaurants on the platform associated with that online presence will be seen by new potential customers."

Realizing the huge potential in the growing smartphone market, Schatzberg started URGE.

URGE has only been in business for a little over a month now, but it has already signed up more than 50 restaurants, had their app downloaded more than 7,500 times and receive over 2,500 Web site visits every day.

In the coming weeks, 25 more restaurants are signing up for the service and Schatzberg hopes to have 250 using URGE by the end of the year.

A variety of restaurants have signed up, from Chinese to pizza parlors, sushi, wings, Tex-Mex, Kosher, juice bars, and even liquor stores that deliver alcohol, although an I.D. is still required.

Examples of some restaurants that have already signed up include Bernie's L.A. Café, Pizza Fusion, Confucio Express and Pita Loca.

There are other similar services out there, but what sets URGE apart is they can process a heavy volume of credit card and cash orders (most platforms don't allow cash orders), they allow the restaurant to receive orders via fax, email or through their Web browser, and no other platform displays a map to the beach, says Schatzberg. And unlike other platforms that have far-off corporate headquarters, URGE is based in Miami.

Eventually Schatzberg wants to move URGE beyond the realm of food delivery, and tap into tourist activities like scooter rentals, clubs and museums.

"The proof of concept will be success with selling food through the URGE platform," says Schatzberg. "The losers in the business are the restaurants who don't participate in this system."

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