Save Time at Dinner So You Can Spend More Time with Family

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 9.55.59 PMOnce you have a family, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Schedules and rules are what keep our busy lives on track, yet they also tend to exclude valuable family “fun” time. Mix in work by both parents that requires travel and life easily becomes just one dull blur of days overrun with the same old, same old. So one of the things we try to consistently do as a family is sit and have dinner together. No TV, no cell phones, iPads – just the three of us enjoying each others company and talking about our days. 

On Friday nights, we always get the itch to try mixing something new in – like catching a movie at the theater. Unfortunately, with the drive from downtown, there never seems to be enough time for Ben to make it home from work and be able to catch a movie at a decent time. We recently ran into this exact dilemma where the options for the movie we wanted to see were either 7pm or 10pm, with Ben’s arrival time being 6pm. While Ben quickly resigned to “Should we just watch a movie at home? (again?)”, I replied, “No babe! I have the perfect solution!”

I suggested we meet and have dinner at BJ’s Restaurant, right next door to the theater. We LOVE BJ’s Restaurant. Thing is, so does everyone else. Even though our exchange was via email, I already knew how he would respond. It’s friday night, 6pm and you want to eat at the most popular restaurant in the mall?!?! . Yes, yes I do. Because I had a secret weapon called Dine In Order Ahead.

What if all you had to do was show up?

BJ’s Mobile App (iOS and Android) recently launched by BJ’s Restaurant includes this genius feature that gives you the ability to let the location of your choice know what time you plan on arriving and what you’d like to order in advance. You receive an email confirmation of your order along with the option to pay your bill online or using BJ’s Mobile App. Your order isn’t fired until you arrive and are seated, which allows for a fresh hot meal taking the fastest route straight to your table and into your belly. 

bjs dine in order ahead.jpg bjs dine in order ahead 2.jpgWhistler and I arrived at about 6pm and luckily there was no wait so we were seated right away. (If there had been a wait, our use of the Dine In Order Ahead feature would have automatically put us on the Preferred Waitlist – give us priority seating!) The waiter welcomed us and said our drinks and appetizer would be there shortly. Ben sat down at 6:05, at the exact same time as his beer, which brought a big happy grin to his face. While we were still saying our greetings and how-do-you-do’s, our appetizer arrived. At this point Ben stopped to ask, “So how does this all work?”. I responded, “I placed our order earlier so they already have it!”. And his response is what should be BJ’s Mobile App’s tagline,

“So all I have to do is show up?!?! I like it!”

We totally felt like VIPs on a busy Friday night and were impressed by the service we had received this far. Unfortunately, this is where technology put a small kink in our otherwise perfect as planned evening. For some reason, only the first portion of our order (the drinks and appetizer) came through. So while we were patiently waiting for our dinner entrees to arrive, the waiter was wondering why in the world we weren’t ordering more to eat. By the time we asked and the managers had our orders rushed, we had less than 9 minutes to eat before having to run to the theater to catch our movie. Even though we gobbled it down like there was no tomorrow, the food was delicious as usual and we were only sad that I we didn’t have more time to enjoy eating it.

bjs thai shrimp lettuce wraps (2)

Thai Shrimp Lettuce Wraps
Thai Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

Do we still love BJ’s Restaurant? YES! Will we eat there again? YES! Will I use Dine in Order Ahead again? YES! But this time, with one small change (and this is something I recommend EVERYONE do) – simply verify your order with your waiter once you are seated. Make sure everything is correct right at the beginning and who knows, maybe you’ll even want to add a few more things on to your order anyway (like we did!). That’s what’s great about taking advantage of this feature – while it saves time and locks in your order so its ready to start being cooked as soon as you are seated, it’s also flexible. If you need to make a fast exit, you’ll also be able to avoid waiting for the check to arrive by using the Mobile Pay feature and paying right from your phone.

[infobox]For a limited time, guests can save $5 off all orders $20 or more anytime they use Dine-In Order Ahead, Curbside Take Out Order Ahead or Mobile Pay through the app.[/infobox]

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and BJ’s Restaurants, but all my opinions are my own. #DineInOrderAhead #pmedia http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

45 thoughts on “Save Time at Dinner So You Can Spend More Time with Family”

  1. I absolutely love BJs! I didnt even realize that they had an app. Go figure since I go every two months to stock up. Thanks for sharing this! Going to download it ASAP!

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  2. This is a great app! I’m sure if more restaurants did this, they would gain so much more business.

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  3. Im serious there is an app for everything!!! EVERYTHING!! I am all for innovations so restaurants that get with the technological times are awesome!

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  4. What an awesome service! I would love to ‘just show up’ and sit down and just verify my order ! How cool is that!?!

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  5. I do love this concept, but too bad there was a chink in the system. Part of the eating experience is getting to take your time to savor the food, not gobble it down. I like the idea of verifying with the waiter to make sure everyone is on the same page.

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  6. I love this idea and wish more restaurants offered it. With four kids, including two toddlers, patience is something we are practicing but it often times ruins a meal our for us.

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  7. What another great app. I’ll have to get this. I think the ordering ahead is fantastic. Thanks for the check with the waiter tips, too!

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  8. I am loving this app and I love BJ’s . I think I will ask my husband if he wants to try this out this weekend and we will make sure we confirm everything once we arrive.

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  9. Wow, I didn’t know that BJ’s had a call in service! I love when I can find an app to help make dinner easier!

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  10. So you can place your order ahead of time and then go and eat in the restaurant and have it delivered to your table? That’s awesome!

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  11. What a genius idea! I’m surprised more restaurants haven’t started to do the same thing. They are surely on to something.

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  12. I think this is such a good idea. Like Aimee above me said, it’s a really, really good idea when you’ve got little ones along.

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  13. I am not sure I have heard of this BJs. We must not have one around me. That is pretty neat that they have an app to order. I know a lot more places have online ordering. Thats pretty handy, too.

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  14. Oh wow! Heck yes! All I have to do is show up? I am game for that :) The food looks sooo delicious!

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  15. I’ve never ate at BJ’s but I heard they’re AMAZING! I love when I can order the food and just pick it up! Makes life so much easier!

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  16. That’s awesome that you can order ahead! I’ll have to check out BJs the next time we go out to eat (or decide to eat in).

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  17. The use of technology is making everything so convenient and easy these days! We don’t have a BJ’s nearby but now I want to start checking for these little perks before we go out to eat.

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  18. THIS is genius. I get to-go pretty often because I may be in a slight rush to get home and I don’t want to wait a long time to be served, but this is perfect.

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  19. I’m all for saving time at dinnertime!! I love quick and easy meal ideas! Nothing worse than cooking something that takes forever and a day to make.

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  20. wow – I love that idea. The closest thing to that for us is just calling in for takeout! This would great for new parents.

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  21. For time-crunched families, this is so helpful! I especially love the feature where you can pay on your own without waiting for the server to bring the tab!

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  22. What a cool app. I always like to at least look at the menu before I go to a restaurant to see if that is where I really want to go. Great to be able to order ahead.

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  23. We don’t have this restaurant around here, but I love that you can order ahead of time. How cool is that?

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