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July 2, 2010

Del Mar Entrepreneur Creates Text Messaging Sales System

The cafe you frequent is bound to have a line out the door and the boss is waiting. But shoot, you haven’t had your morning coffee and your tummy is grumbling for the usual poppy-seed bagel with cream cheese.

If only the friendly cashier who knows your name and exactly what you’ll order could sense your approach, place your order, charge the check card you hand her every day and have the coffee and bagel ready and waiting at the counter when you arrive.

In today’s busy world, the above scenario has crossed many a multi-tasking mind. And it’s just what Del Mar resident Ford Blakely, 34, thought each morning on his way to work or after a cold surf session.

“I was at a really good point in my career. I had the opportunity to take it further, or put it on the line and take a risk,” the one-time CPA said. He took the risk, dedicating his time to developing a system that would get him and the millions of others frequently on the go a little closer to that ultimate convenience.

Thus the Zingle was born.

Del Mar launch
In late December, Java Kai in Del Mar was the first business to install the Zingle, a small, wireless receipt printer that receives text messages.

It was an appropriate launching place. Java Kai is where Blakely stood waiting in line one early morning about four years ago when he first had the idea for the Zingle.

“As I got further into the idea, I realized there are a ton of other uses for it,” Blakely said. He envisions the little order-taker in dry cleaners or any other service business, with expanded functions, such as the ability to receive requests via e-mail.

“It’s really helped us become a lot more efficient and able to do a lot more volume, and we don’t really feel it,” said David Dickert, managing partner of Java Kai. “It doesn’t require me to bring in another staff member, but it’s basically like having another person working and taking orders.”

“It will take a little time for us to see the activity we want to see from it,” Del Mar Pizza co-owner Shawn Argent said. The restaurant installed the system in late December. He said Blakely provided comprehensive point-of-purchase materials with the system, making it user-friendly.

“Being the new owners of the business we want to be cutting edge, you know, to stay ahead of the times,” Argent said.

How it works
The Zingle plugs into a power outlet, contains a SIM card and prints orders as they come in, Blakely explained. Each has a unique phone number.

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