Tired of flying from a new airport and trying to figure out what food to buy?
A new company called AirGrub promises it has solved your problem. AirGrub is an app that allows you to pre-order food at airport restaurants in San Francisco, Boston and New York. You pay via the app, so when you arrive at the terminal from your Uber or connecting flight, the food is waiting for you. There's no markup, and you pay regular price.
Unfortunately, it's a limited operation. At SFO, you can choose from Klein's Delis, Yankee Pier and Andale in Terminal 3, as well at Napa Farms Market in Terminal 2, and Andale in the International Terminal. In Boston and New York, you have even fewer options. (The L.A. Times had a full list of AirGrub restaurants in a recent story.)
I spoke this week to company founder and CEO Surya Panditi. He said AirGrub will add more restaurants in Boston, New York and San Francisco and will probably expand to other airports.
Panditi said the idea came to him when he was traveling for his last job, as an executive with Cisco.
"I was eating food that I would really rather have not," he said. "I didn't know the airport. I didn't have time. The two problems people have is the 'time problem' and the 'lack of knowledge problem.' What we did was we created this app so people could order food any time."
This service is probably most effective for a passenger with a tight connection. Perhaps if you know you only have an hour at SFO, you can place the order after you land. By the time you get off the plane and get to the restaurant, the food should be waiting for you. Or if you prefer, you can order the meal hours earlier, and simply guess what time you'll pick it up at SFO. The restaurant will have it ready.
Panditi said AirGrub has told restaurants how vital it is that food be ready exactly when promised. Travelers don't like to wait.
"We know how much time it takes to make each and every item," he said. "We say to the restaurant, 'your customer is showing up at 10:30, so please start making the well done filet mignon at 9:55."
What do you think of AirGrub? Would you use it?