FEELING HANGRY AND INDECISIVE? END YOUR SUFFERING WITH MENULESS
We've all been there. Hunger sets in, but instead of eating, the next two hours are spent "deciding." It happens when you're alone, with your roommate, or with a bunch of coworkers at the office. And by the end of those two hours, nothing sounds good. Because everything is shit and what's the point? Aziz Ansari's taco indecision scene totally nails it.
That's where Menuless comes in. Started by WNW Member #3520 Jillian Dresser with her partner Julian Tippins (two people who love food but hate decisions), Menuless is a food ordering service like Seamless that decides your order for you... so you don't have to. All you do is enter how many people you have and how much money you want to spend, and they send you food from a good restaurant nearby. Just think about how much more space you'll have after you clean out your menu drawer.
We spoke to Jillian about how hungry they were when Menuless was born, the crazy methods of delivery they considered, and why they're passionate about ending hanger. If you're too hungry and exhausted to order from Menuless, you're probably beyond saving. But I just had Chinese, what about Indian? Does the pork speciality shop have good vegetarian options? Is 4 and a half stars a good enough Yelp rating? Shut up.
Tell us a little bit about your creative backgrounds.
We both graduated from VCU Brandcenter (different years), and met working together as an art director/copywriter team at Walrus, an ad agency here in NYC.
How hungry and indecisive were you the moment you decided to start Menuless?
Ha. Back when we were working together, we were on a low-budget photoshoot where we were on our own for lunch. We were at a random little studio in midtown. Nobody knew what was around for food, nor did anyone want to take charge or suggest anything. You know how it is, no one wants to be the one to blame if you end up with something awful! So anyway, after some half-hearted Yelping and Seamless review-reading, we settled on some unknown pizza place nearby. It was terrible. Like, so bad, that no one even pretended that it was good. We’ve all been there. We’ve all had those bad ordering experiences — especially in big groups — and we were just like, wouldn’t it be nice if there was something that just sent you food and you didn’t have to decide? So anyway, I’d say we were only at a 7/10 for hunger, but a 10/10 on the indecisiveness scale for sure.
What are your respective roles in building Menuless?
We took on pretty much everything as a team. When it came down to the nitty-gritty of site design and fine-tuning copy, we fell into our old roles a little bit, but really every decision we’ve made has been together.
"Before we found a food ordering API that we could actually use, we considered all sorts of stuff that now seems crazy. Like calling in all of the orders by hand, and even having a dude on an electric bike with a cell phone and bag of cash that would just drive around ordering and delivering shit. We didn’t know what we were doing."
What have been some of the challenges you’ve encountered thus far?
Our first major challenge was figuring out how we were going to get the orders through. It took us a long time and a lot of research to figure out how the hell our website would connect to the restaurants. Before we found a food ordering API that we could actually use, we considered all sorts of stuff that now seems crazy. Like calling in all of the orders by hand, and even having a dude on an electric bike with a cell phone and bag of cash that would just drive around ordering and delivering shit. We didn’t know what we were doing. I’d say that, and doing taxes. Business taxes are a bitch.
In the early days of Menuless, does it seem like people are giving up control to stave off starvation?
I think it’s more about making food ordering fun again. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of just hitting the “reorder” button on Seamless. We all do it — it’s just so easy when you don’t have the energy at the end of the day to try something new. Or the guts, really. Menuless not only makes getting out of that food comfort-zone ridiculously easy, it makes it fun and exciting and even a little dangerous. But really, in a pretty low-risk kind of way. We made the probability of getting something you’ll like high by only choosing restaurants people love, and menu items people rank highly.
The whole voice of the brand is hilariously unapologetic. Did you ever consider a more comforting voice or is part of the fun taking charge?
It’s funny you ask that because that voice was actually one of the first decisions we made. I think the unapologetic tone sort of reflects the mindset of our audience, which are really just non-picky, hungry folks that just want food now, without having to fuss over it.
But yeah, we knew we were building a novelty product that wasn’t for everyone and we knew that if we tried to be more comforting it could have been a slippery slope toward creating a site that wanted to be something for everyone. Seamless already does that, and they’re great at it.
A GLIMPSE INTO THE MENULESS FAQ
What else are you working on these days?
Ironically enough, we’re both pretty into cooking. When we’re not working on Menuless or at our full-time or freelance ad gigs, we’re usually talking about new kitchen gadgets we bought or how to make the best quiche. But no other big projects in the works yet.
What are some top tips you can offer creatives who are thinking about launching a side project?
Just do it. I didn’t mean to sound like a tagline there. I just think you gotta get over that inertia we all have and just start doing whatever it is you’re thinking about. It’s easy to spend a lot of time in the dreaming phase, but if you just start building whatever it is, then you have something tangible that you can work with and mold and shape. That, and find people that are as equally passionate about your ideas as you are. It helps to keep the momentum going.
"It’s easy to spend a lot of time in the dreaming phase, but if you just start building whatever it is, then you have something tangible that you can work with and mold and shape."
What’s one song that always gets you in the creative zone, and still sounds good when you’re hangry?
That’s a funny question. I don’t know if there’s one song per se, but I remember listening to a lot of AC/DC during a work session once, and it inspired a whole other side project we’ll have to talk about some other time :)
Anything else you’d like to add?
Yeah! If you’re curious about what restaurants are on Menuless, follow us on Twitter at @menulessnyc. It’s also where we give away discount codes and other nonsense. Happy food ordering!