PUTRAJAYA, Aug 1 — Wish you could order food at your favourite Mamak restaurant from your smartphone before you set foot in the restaurant?
There’s an app for that now.
Introducing Smart Mamak, which not only provides the convenience of ordering your mee goreng and teh tarik ahead, but also aims to minimise the dependency on foreign workers at the restaurants.
The app was developed by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) through its translational research initiative.
Deputy vice-chancellor (research and innovation) Prof Mohd Ekhwan Toriman said Smart Mamak was created on the self-service concept.
“There are apps that offer food delivery but we do not want to take away the ‘mamak’ aspect of the customer experience. Smart Mamak lets customers book a table and order their food, which will be served when they arrive at the restaurant,” he told Malay Mail.
The app, currently only available on the Android platform, boasts a modern interface with pictures, menus and prices.
It also features the geographical information system which enables users to locate the mamak restaurants nearest to them.
“If a restaurant of your choice can’t fulfil your order for some reason, the system will automatically suggest the nearest one for you to try,” he said.
Mohd Ekhwan said by listing their outlets on the app, restaurant owners could reduce the number of their workers.
“This would reduce their overheads and increase their profits,” he said.
Mohd Ekhwan said the idea to create the app was mooted by the Higher Education Ministry following Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s trip to India in March.
“The ministry pitched a basic idea of what they had in mind and we accepted the challenge,” he said.
“Mamak restaurants are synonymous with Malaysians and we figured it would serve the true purpose of translational research that benefits community.”
Mohd Ehkwan said the university is working closely with the Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma), whose members operate 4,000 restaurants nationwide.
“We hope to get all of them to list their restaurants on Smart Mamak,” he said.
The project, which took less than four months to develop, is also special to UKM as it reflects two of the institution’s seven “Grand Challenges” — “Malaysia Lestari” (Sustainable Malaysia) and “Malaysia Sihat” (Healthy Malaysia).
The app was co-developed by the university’s Information Technology and Systems, Social and Humanities, and Economy and Commerce faculties in collaboration with Presma.
“We are considering implementing a minimum service charge, which is needed to enable the university to generate income for future research projects,” he said.
The app’s pilot version was launched by Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh on July 18 and is currently linked to Restoran Ali Maju in Precinct 2, Putrajaya.
Mohd Ekhwan said the full version of the app is targeted to be developed by the end of the year.
“We hope to have the app available on the Apple mobile platform too by then,” he said.