Eatery has an app for your appetite

East Vancouver's Philly Bilmos adds iPhone accessibility




East Vancouver restaurant Philly Bilmos has released an iPhone application to serve its customers on the go.

The app features Bilmos’ full menu of cheese steaks, subs, pasta and salads. A stream of its Twitter feed and Facebook posts also helps alert customers to special promotions or events at the restaurant’s Southeast 164th Avenue location. A call button provides easy ordering.

Bruce Elgort, CEO of Elguji Software in Vancouver, said that as more people surf the Web with their mobile phones, having a custom application helps small businesses such as Bilmos stand out from the crowd of competitors.

Bilmos owner Mike Bitter approached Elgort about building his own app after he saw one for Galeotti’s Restaurant in Battle Ground, Elgort said.

Combined with access to information through Twitter and Facebook, many potential customers may never visit a restaurant’s home page. Instead, hungry customers are finding a lunch spot through social websites and on their mobile phones.

“Mobile is taking over the traditional websites,” Elgort said. “Most people are away from their computers most of the time.”

Elgort, who left his job at Camas-based Sharp Corp. in July to work for his wife Gayle Elgort’s company, said he’s gotten several inquiries from other local restaurant owners interested in developing mobile applications. He charges clients for applications based on how complicated the programming is and how long it takes, he said. Development takes at least a few weeks and starts at about $500.

“It really is local small businesses adopting social media in ways you wouldn’t have thought,” Elgort said.

An Android version of the app is on its way.