Pizza restaurant launches Spain's first virtual waiter app
A restaurant on Spain's northeastern Mediterranean coast is pioneering a dining experience that allows customers to avoid most face-to-face contact with staff and minimize the risk of coronavirus contagion.
Customers at Funky Pizza, in Palafrugell on the Costa Brava popular with tourists, can browse the menu, order and pay via the "Funky Pay" app on their phones - the first time a purpose-designed app has been integrated into a restaurant's ordering system in Spain.
A waiter does bring the order to the table.
"Through this system we have tried to keep physical distance with our clients, which is what people are looking for during COVID," said restaurant owner Carlos Manich.
Staff manage the orders from screens behind the bar.
The restaurant has had to adapt to social distancing rules by becoming table service only and reminding customers on entry they must wear face masks at all times when not at their tables.
"The application is very user-friendly ... and you can also track your order and see when it is in the kitchen or when it will be arriving," said Claudia Medina, 26, eating at the restaurant.
But some customers disagreed. "I think we lose the feeling with the waiter, for example when you order you can't ask about different preferences or quantities," said customer Javier Comas, 26.