A new food-ordering website called Crunchbutton launched at Brown last week, allowing students to order take-out or receive deliveries from their favorite local restaurants and Josiah’s.
Crunchbutton offers the most popular items from each of the restaurants it features, said Judd Rosenblatt, its co-founder and CEO. “People think they want to choose from a whole lot of options, but they don’t really. They want to see the top stuff,” he said.
Sean Glass, a Crunchbutton investor, said the website works well because it reduces the burden of choice. “When you’re really hungry and you start wandering through restaurants and you can’t pick one, you return to a favorite you have,” Glass said, adding that Crunchbutton makes quick decisions easy.
By offering a restaurant’s top items, Crunchbutton helps businesses sell more of its most popular products, he said.
Students can pay with cash or credit at restaurants and can use their meal plans at Jo’s, Rosenblatt said. Crunchbutton also offers one-click ordering, where a user’s favorite items and payment and delivery information are saved on the site.
Crunchbutton’s business model depends on taking a cut of restaurants’ profits from website orders, not on charging a user fee, Rosenblatt said. There is no additional cost for students, he said.
Rosenblatt said he started the website at Yale in order to allow students to order the Wenzel, a famous local sandwich. The website has sold over $60,000 worth of Wenzel sandwiches, Rosenblatt said, adding that the business has grown by 10 percent each week since its launch.
Rosenblatt attended the Sept. 27 open house for Providence startup accelerator Betaspring, The Herald previously reported. Since then, he has expanded Crunchbutton to include restaurants in Cambridge, Mass., New Haven, Washington D.C. and Providence, according to Crunchbutton.com.
Jarrett Key ’13 said he used his meal plan on Crunchbutton Monday night to order a spicy with from Josiah’s. He said the website was easy to use and added that he was able to be very specific about what he wanted on his sandwich.
“I think it’s really foolproof, to be honest,” he said. “I was really hungry and too tired to leave my room.” Key said he plans to use Crunchbutton again when he has rehearsal until late at night.
Participation in Crunchbutton is meant to be an easy experience on the restaurant side of the operation as well, Rosenblatt said, adding that he gives restaurants the option to receive orders through telephone calls, text messages, emails or faxes.
But Natalia Foussekis, manager of the Better Burger Company, said her restaurant found it difficult to accommodate Crunchbutton orders. Instead of working with Crunchbutton, she plans to make the restaurant website easier to use, she said.
Owners of other local restaurants, such as Golden Crust Pizza and Angkor, said Crunchbutton has been beneficial to their businesses.
“It offered us new opportunities to introduce ourselves to new customers and new students and also gave us a lot of a late-night business,” said Gokhan Vural, owner of Golden Crust Pizza, which delivers until 4 a.m. “Most people didn’t even know we were open that late,” he said.
Chutema Am, owner of the Cambodian restaurant Angkor, said he originally decided to put his restaurant on Crunchbutton because he wanted to help the startup succeed.
Crunchbutton is helping Am raise awareness of Angkor’s recently added delivery services, which have been profitable for the restaurant, he said, adding that Angkor does not advertise on its own.
“We have a good word of mouth, but Crunchbutton has been a huge addition to our popularity,” he said.
Crunchbutton has continued to grow as more restaurants find out about the website and ask to participate, Rosenblatt said.