EMMA ROUTLEY/THE CHRONICLE

PublicHouse in Springfield utilizes "Porter" software, with instructions on each table.

As the pandemic leaves restaurant owners feeling shaken, a new web technology may be paving the way for a new kind of operation. In the future, waiting for a server to take a food order may be obsolete, thanks to Porter. 

Porter, a web-based technology that utilizes QR code for menus and food service, supplies a new way to order and serve customers to focus more on guest satisfaction rather than the transaction.

“You think about your own experience going into a restaurant and whether a waiter or waitress is helping you – they spend a lot of time taking your order, taking your card, giving your card slips back,” said CEO John Barry, aka Head Porter. “With Porter, that’s removed.”

An active community member, Barry spent two years running the Arts and Business Alliance of Eugene, which allowed him to combine his passion for art and for business and get to know local leaders also involved in ABAE. One thing he’d never done, Barry said in entrepreneurial spirit, was a commercial startup. 

Still relatively new, Porter is putting out feelers for opportunities to test the technology.

John Barry aka "Head Porter"

Different from delivery apps like Uber Eats or Grubhub, Porter is used by opening a website provided by the hub, creating an account and registering a credit card. As orders are placed and sent to the kitchen, the transaction is already complete.

In scenarios where there are multiple food trucks, Porter cuts out the need to get up from the table at all, unless someone needs a bathroom break.

Currently, Porter provides the technology working in the background of local businesses such as PublicHouse in Springfield and the Beergarden in Eugene.

Porter recently announced a partnership with the Eugene Emeralds and Bend Elks.

“Instead of having to spend that time getting up, standing in line and maybe missing the winning home run, you never have to leave your seat,” Barry said.

Contactless food service has become the norm during the last year, and Barry said people’s comfort level with that experience should be good for Porter’s future.

“We launched at a time when the idea of using something like Porter onsite to enhance the dining experience was a novelty,” Barry said. “Our future’s going to be about being the underlying software that allows our clients to provide that experience.”