| Tech |

There's an App for That: SeamlessWeb Takes Aim at Food Delivery

For those with a love of food and obsession with their smart phones, these are amazing times. There are apps that give iPhone and Android users all sorts of options when it comes to food, from finding happy hours to ranking restaurants.

One thing that has been missing from the world of apps has been food delivery. Online services like Takeout Taxi, which have thrived for years off of hungry office staffs, don't provide mobile-friendly websites or apps for helping nerds make the most of their food ordering experience.

Fortunately, SeamlessWeb is here to sort of save the day. This free app for iPhone, Android and Blackberry allows users to order food for delivery or pick-up without all the mess of actually dialing a phone. Isn't technology amazing?

SeamlessWeb has the distinction of being the only app with restaurant choices in Houston. In fact, SemlessWeb's only real competition is GrubHub, but they are limited to 13 cities and not one named Houston.

SeamlessWeb works simply enough. You enter your address information or allow the app to choose your current location, and it provides you with a list of restaurants in your area that will deliver. They also have a list of places for pick-up only.

Currently, the app is limited to only about 20 restaurants in the city, most of which appear to be centered around downtown or the Galleria, which is disappointing, but it is hard to tell just how many establishments are represented because there is no full list on the website and no way to search the entire city on the app.

The good news is the number of restaurants and cities appears to be growing. Their list of cities is up to 27, including London, England. Houston is currently the only city in the state of Texas represented by either SeamlessWeb or GrubHub.

The only confusing thing about the app is the prominently featured "Returning Users Login" button, which seems to allow access to additional features. But the only way to create an account - and this is not sufficiently explained either in the app or on the website - is to place an order, which is not ideal. There is an area for signing up your company for delivery on the website, but nothing for individuals.

Frankly, the biggest complaint we had when using the app wasn't the few eateries available - that is to be expected with a new app in a new area - but rather the haphazard way in which information was provided both through the app and the website. It's hard to tell if their target audience is an individual diner looking for meal delivery or a company placing larger orders for an entire staff.

Even the name SeamlessWeb, which has, as far as we can tell, nothing to do with food at all, doesn't exactly inspire confidence in a food app the way, for example, GrubHub does. But it is currently the only option in Houston (and Texas for that matter), and it looks like they have good backing, so, hopefully, it's just a matter of time before they add restaurants and improve the overall user experience.

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