The Lunch Bunch | Food News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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The Lunch Bunch 

Side Dishes: New Service to Start in January

Published December 3, 2008 at 6:51 a.m.

Joanna Murray and Shawn Morse, co-owners of Morse Associates, a web design and IT support business in Colchester, do a bunch of their business over grub. “We meet our clients and potential clients at lunch,” Murray explains.

But without knowing which specials adorn the menu on a given day, frequent lunchers may find it hard to select a place to chow down. That’s why the couple, along with a pair of silent partners, decided to create a new service dedicated to serving up that information, Web 2.0-style.

America Orders, set to launch in January, will act as a matchmaker of sorts between restaurants that offer daily lunch specials and folks who want to devour them. Consumers get the goods for free by completing a simple sign-up process. A daily email with a web link hooks them up with nearby dishes du jour. Restaurants pay a fee to participate. “We’re hoping to help everybody connect,” Murray says.

She also hopes interested folks will start jumping on the bandwagon early. “The phase of the project right now is just collecting data and getting people to sign up, so we can say to the restaurants, ‘We have 1000 people in the Burlington area who want to see your lunch menus,’” she explains. To help drum up business, the America Orders entrepreneurs created MySpace and Facebook pages and have been hanging up flyers in eateries around town. “A couple of restaurants showed interest,” Murray says.

Although they aim to cover the entire Green Mountain State eventually, Murray and Morse are beginning with B-town because it’s the biggest market. Of the 60 or so restaurants that serve lunch and offer specials, Murray says, “[Signing up] half would be wonderful.”

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About The Author

Suzanne Podhaizer

Suzanne Podhaizer

Former contributor Suzanne Podhaizer is an award-winning food writer (and the first Seven Days food editor) as well as a chef, farmer, and food-systems consultant. She has given talks at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture's "Poultry School" and its flagship "Young Farmers' Conference." She can slaughter a goose, butcher a pig, make ramen from scratch, and cook a scallop perfectly.


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