The last few years have seen a massive boom in emoji popularity, so much so that Apple added a whole keyboard to their iPhones for the smileys and symbols. Additionally, social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have made it possible for everyone to use emoji on their websites. Now, certain businesses are attempting to take emoji to the next level by allowing people to order food using the pictographs.
Launched earlier this year, Fooji’s tagline simply reads “food emojis. delivered.” The site’s information page goes on to explain that, “Fooji is the simplification (oversimplification?) of food ordering and delivery.” The way it works is that a user tweets or texts a food emoji to Fooji and the site selects a related meal from a top restaurant in the user’s neighborhood that will be delivered in about 30 to 45 minutes for the flat fee of $15.
Fooji may leave much to be desired in terms of control over what food you order. For instance, the site’s FAQ specifically says that users cannot specify how they would like their food–it’s left up to Fooji and is a surprise for users. So for example, if you send a burger emoji but don’t like pickles, Fooji wrote, “Then Fooji is not for you my friend. There’s an old saying, ‘If you can’t stand the Fooji, get out of the kitchen.’ We think that’s how it goes…” (The same goes for food allergies or dietary restrictions.)
However, Fooji is meant to make ordering a meal as simple as possible, without the burden of making a decision past which emoji looks most delicious. As Stefanie Tuder wrote for ABC News when she tried Fooji, “I did feel a certain sense of relief at not having to choose from the hundreds of options near my office on New York City’s Upper West Side.”
While Fooji may be the first of its emoji food delivery service kind, Domino’s has quickly jumped on the bandwagon. The fast food outlet announced its AnyWare ordering system, which allows customers to order a pizza with an emoji via text or tweet, as well as a variety of other methods. However, prior to simply sending an emoji, users must have a Domino’s Pizza Profile and an established Easy Order, which is what users would be ordering with an emoji rather than simply a slice of pepperoni pizza.
Domino’s AnyWare ordering certainly offers the control that Fooji doesn’t in terms of customizing your order, but it must be done prior to actually using your pizza emoji. Plus, if you have a regular order from Domino’s, this system could very well provide an added convenience to ordering food.
However, as Khushbu Shah wrote for Eater after attempting to order Domino’s (it took three tries before the order was successfully placed) via emoji on Twitter, this system is only useful for a small group of people: “You must be a creature of habit that enjoys ordering the same things over and over, and you must be a Domino’s fan with an account already set up.”
It seems, that if you’re looking to order food with an emoji, and want some options (albeit, ones you don’t have much control over), Fooji is the better way to go. That being said, Domino’s has taken this trend and used it to add an extra convenience for its regular customers.
As for food emoji ordering in general, it’s difficult to say if this trend has staying power. Emoji certainly don’t seem to be falling in popularity as younger generations use them more and more, but any food ordering system based on emoji is going to be limited to the iPhone emoji keyboard. There always seems to be rumors of more emoji being added, like the long-awaited taco emoji. But, for various reasons I don’t wholly understand, I still do not have a taco emoji.
Until the emoji keyboard can catch up to everyone’s stomachs, Fooji and Domino’s AnyWare may be convenient for some, but are still lacking certain necessary options.
Feature photo courtesy of Mark Turnauckas.