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.

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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.jpgbjs 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.

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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

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