When ordering a pizza with friends, there are always disagreements.
But, an interesting thing happened when Byram Hills High School sophomore Robbie Waxman and his friends hit an impasse between penne alla vodka and plain.
“We listed down all the restaurants in Armonk we knew and started talking ideas about what we could do to make it easier for us and everyone else to order food,” Robbie, who is self-taught in coding and web design, said.
Fast forward six months and this group of four sophomores is launching a free app called “Westchester Eats.”
“It’s been done before,” Robbie said of food ordering apps like Seamless and Grubhub. “But, there’s really no platform specific to Westchester County and none that offers both orders and reservations for restaurants.” Users will also be able to conveniently get information on the restaurant and leave a review.
The group’s goal is to get every restaurant in Armonk, and eventually throughout Westchester, to sign on. Will Cohen, 16, who is responsible for building the app, said that there’s no one single app that diligently lists every restaurant in Westchester.
“We really just want to make it so that, even if you don’t know what you want to eat before you go on the app, you have all of the restaurants that are available in Westchester for you to look at and easily filter through,” he said. “We’re just trying to simplify the entire thing and make it available in one app.”
Will, who is self-taught in app design, hopes to make it possible for users to get anywhere in the app within three clicks. Users will be able to search by town, type of food and a full list of restaurants.
“Right now we’ve made it so that it’s possible to order a pizza in 10 seconds if you know what you’re doing,” he said.
The tech-savvy students with a shared passion for entrepreneurship started this process in late 2016 and hope to launch in June. While eager to get their creation off the ground, Will said they have tried hard to take their time and differentiate themselves as much as possible.
“We go out to play tennis on the weekends and we could be hitting and it’s just like, snap, a new idea,” said Robbie, who plays on the varsity soccer, swimming and tennis teams at Byram Hills High School. “We all take a minute and come to the net. We are like, ‘great idea, we gotta add that in as soon as possible.’”
On top of the website, which will house tutorial videos on how to use the app, Robbie heads sales and has been meeting with restaurants to bring them onto the app–he says most have been very receptive. Will makes the app, Zach Tuzzo is head of finances, and Evan Miller is head of marketing.
“I think one of the greatest things about this is they’re doing it all on their own,” Robbie’s mother, Meg Waxman, said. “It’s just these boys putting their heads together and working hard.” In addition to their business, they started an entrepreneurship club at their high school.
“Starting a business has been something that I’ve been thinking about and talking about with my friends for a long time,” Robbie said. “And so, combining that with my passion for technology I think was definitely the right way to go, and I think that it’s going really well. It’s been a fun way to learn, really.”