Jumping the queue

The lunchtime rush could be off the menu as Sainsbury’s trials a mobile phone payment app

When it comes to their precious lunch break, the average worker wants to make the most of every minute. So standing in a long queue with other impatient (and hungry) snackers in need of a quick bite is not the ideal way to spend it. 

It’s from such everyday problems that the greatest innovations are born. Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s is attempting to address the issue of the 12 o’clock snarl-up with the help of technology. An app is being trialled in their London Euston Station store, allowing shoppers to scan and pay for the £3 meal deal on their mobile phone – before skipping happily off to their favourite park bench while their less tech-savvy colleagues fume in the checkout queue.

However, if the app is a success, this fresh level of convenience will surely throw up new and associated challenges. Aside from the usual concern about human jobs that any adoption of time-saving technology provokes, there are other potential hitches to consider. The most obvious is the risk of theft – how will security staff know whether someone has just paid for their sandwich via the app, or is brazenly walking out with a free lunch? Perhaps a new tagging system will be required for the goodies.

If the app fails for any reason, will a law-abiding person get their collar felt on a false charge of shoplifting? If shoppers are jostling for space in a busy store, how would you ensure one person’s purchase couldn’t be accidentally registered on a nearby phone? Issues of cybersecurity must come into play – yet more brilliant minds needed to make this big idea a viable everyday reality.

Innovation begets innovation. Every new idea leads to more new ideas, and every fresh concept needs support from an ever-growing network of associated trades and specialisms. Have you collaborated on a new project and pooled your skills to bring a complex food tech project to life? Give us a call on 01223 224889 and share your story.

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