Ben's Chili Bowl -- there'll be an app for that
Apple, meet the half-smoke.
Ben’s Chili Bowl, the venerated Washington restaurant, is going 21st century and working with the tech giant to create a mobile app that would allow users to place orders and find out about upcoming events.
“We have been blessed to be an icon in D.C., but to be able to compete in the world you have to be up on technology,” said Nizam Ali, co-owner of the historic U Street eatery founded by his father Ben 52 years ago. Ben Ali died in October.
Ali said he is consulting with officials from Apple to determine what needs to be done prior to April 5, when his family will launch a campaign asking the public to help design an iPhone application for the restaurant.
“It would be really cool to have a Chili Bowl logo up there,” Ali said as he held up an iPhone. "People can go on their app and gauge how long they have been waiting in line" or they can see who's at Ben's.
"It is going to be up to the designers to figure out what Ben's Chili Bowl needs in terms of an app," he added.
The app would be the latest step in the evolution and expansion of the family’s business. Ben’s Chili Bowl switched from electricity to wind power in 2007. “Mom and dad raised us really well,” Ali said. “We have to do what we can for our environment, the community and the nation.”
Ben’s Chili Bowl now has a stand at Nationals Park and a restaurant and bar called Next Door.
-- Hamil R. Harris
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