With limited list of items to choose from at each restaurant, this “order ahead” service is only in its infancy.

Mike Pomranz
October 24, 2017

In the already crowded field of restaurant ordering apps, Amazon is looking to extend its presence in the “order ahead” realm. The massive online retailer has announced that it will begin accepting takeout orders through its existing app at select restaurants in select areas starting next month – part of a service known as “Amazon Pay Places.” This new offering will provide the added convenience of already being integrated with Amazon Pay – theoretically making in-store payments simpler –  but will somewhat confusingly operate separately from Amazon’s existing restaurant delivery service known as “Amazon Restaurants.”

Still, adding this new takeout ordering option seems like a bit of a no-brainer. According to the company, the new ordering service is an extension of an existing partnership with Clover, a point-of-sale brand already being utilized by many restaurants. Of course, Amazon still has to sort out the presentation of the ordering platform within their app and integrate new restaurants into that system – but seeing as the app already exists, Amazon Pay already exists and the Clover partnership already exists, this service seems like an easy way to start taking a 10 percent cut off of takeout orders with relatively minimal effort.

“Clover has the technology and scale we needed to bring this vision to life,” Amazon said in a statement. “We've had an ongoing partnership with Clover — we used them to great success with our Kindle pop-up stores — and it was only natural to expand on that.”

And actually, Amazon’s takeout service isn’t even entirely new. It’s been available for ordering from T.G.I. Fridays since July. The next expansion will give select restaurants which already use a Clover POS system the option of joining the program in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington D.C., as well as around Amazon’s home city of Seattle.

However, despite the ease of integration on Amazon’s end, Amazon Pay Places could be a bit confusing for customers trying to wrap their head around how to order food through the online behemoth seeing at this new Clover partnership is separate from Amazon Restaurants, the company’s delivery ordering service which is currently available in more than 20 U.S. cities. That service is also available through the Amazon app. Basically, if you want it, Amazon can handle it – you’ll just have to figure out how!

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