Event and festival goers: Skip the food truck line with this Southside man’s app

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A screenshot from the VendorDine app on Android.
A screenshot of the VendorDine app on Android.

VIRGINIA BEACH — Festival patrons now have a new way to enjoy food trucks without waiting in long lines at local events.

The mobile app, VendorDine, has descended on Virginia’s Southside, creating easy access to delicious food offerings while promoting an enjoyable experience for customers and vendors.

Now, instead of losing precious time waiting in line for food, missing your favorite song or perhaps even wrangling antsy children, Norfolk mobile app owner, Clayton Francis, has brought the “skip-the-line” trend to your favorite food trucks.

“People go to an event and can spend half their time in line for drinks and food,” Francis said.

Francis’ wife is the inspiration behind the app that has been gaining momentum in the area, with more than 400 downloads in August. After spending nearly two hours in a food truck line at an event, she asked Francis why, when there’s an app for everything, was she still waiting in line? Two years later, the idea for an app that allows you to enjoy the music, shopping, and socializing while your food prepares, was born.

“This app was conceived with families in mind,” said Francis. While doing research, he spoke with parents who shared that they either eat before going to events, or skip them altogether due to the wait time for food.

“These are sales vendors are missing out on,” Francis said.

Other patrons expressed frustration at not being able to make more than one purchase despite the varied offerings due to the long lines.

“If they could put orders in and continue to enjoy the event, they’d make more than one purchase,” Francis said.

The VendorDine app is free to download for both Android and iOS users, and interactive vendor menus allow for simple and secure ordering. Once the customers’ credit card processes, the patron will receive three text messages; one to confirm the order, another for when it’s processing, and then the “your order is ready” text. There’s a $1 processing fee for the transaction and wait times may vary.

Clayton Francis, VendorDine founder. (Courtesy of Clayton Francis)

Though the event season is winding down, food trucks in the area continue to provide food in Southside, but customers may not want to leave their warm offices to venture outside to wait in line. With VendorDine, customers can order from their desk and head down when their food is ready.

At this time Francis isn’t working with vendors to sell alcohol through the app, but he and his team are brainstorming the possibility.

Eight food trucks in the Southside area have added their menu to the mobile app, and Francis aims to add more of your favorites to the offerings. The current VendorDine food trucks are: J&K Style Grill, two trucks from MP Island Café, Quarterdeck Seafood Restaurant, Wadadli Dessert Oasis, Food Gangsters, and Make Me A Plate.

The VendorDine website has specifics on how new vendors can register and the monthly service fee, one that has no limit to the number of transactions a vendor can make. The vendor has complete control over the speed and rate of how fast orders are accepted on the VendorDine app, and how quickly those orders go out.

With skip-the-line mobile ordering made popular by Panera and Starbucks gaining popularity, VendorDine has brought the same concept to the food truck industry in Southside Virginia.

“You can order and pay from your seat,” said Francis. “As long as the food truck vendor has the VendorDine mobile app, you can continue to listen to music socialize, then pick up your food and walk away.”

For more information on VendorDine and to download the app visit: http://vendordine.com

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