Exterior signage at Marx Bagel

Question: Who among us would wait in a long line for a must-have item if a faster, easier way were available at no added cost? While I’m not a social scientist, I’m betting that nobody would thoughtfully choose the long line over a speedier approach. Why would anybody do that?

Rosh Hashanah is a long-line producer at Marx Bagels, according to Y.Y. Davis, who owns the venerable bagel shop. Speaking on September 7 about the holiday that begins the evening of Friday, September 15, Davis said: “We’re going to be putting out thousands of round challahs and it gets really busy here (at Marx Bagels service counter). We’ve already taken tons of orders and we encourage families to make orders ahead of time so we can make sure of supply. There will be a line here of people who did not order ahead, and you don’t want to be in that line if you can avoid it.”

Of course, here it is September 14, knocking on the door of tomorrow’s holiday. What Davis is working on with his service staff is a Grab ‘n Go system that will virtually eliminate the wait for those who have pre-ordered and pre-paid for their challahs and what-have-you. Some semblance of the soon-to-be refined system will be in place for Jewish patrons readying for tomorrow and the weekend celebrations. “We’ll have something set up for those who have pre-ordered and pre-paid so that they can find their order and just take it and go. But we are working on a kiosk system that will allow people to come in, order from the kiosk, pay for their choices, and go to the Grab ‘n Go location and pick up the items they’ve paid for.

The new and yet to be installed kiosk that soon will be part of the Grab ‘n Go system at the bagel shop

“I just came back from Israel and every restaurant has these kiosk systems. They are so advanced that even the smallest mom and pop places have them. These systems are not novel in the U.S.: you find them some places, but they are universal in Israel,” he stated.

Davis already has the order kiosk in-house and waiting to be programmed and installed. Getting it done in time for the holidays is the issue. That likely will not happen by the time you read this description of the system, but it will happen, and soon. The kiosk will be set up in a fashion similar to a walk-up ATM. The customer inserts a credit card and engages a touch screen that lists the items that are available in the special section for Grab ‘n Go diners. A typical user of the kiosk might choose two or three items, which the system will tabulate and total, charging the credit card and printing a receipt. Then the user goes to the selection area and picks out the items paid for, and that’s that. Out you go, easy, efficient, fast!

What the order selection will include is yet to be determined. But logical guesses might be 6- and 12-packs of bagels of different, popular flavors, such as onion, raisin-cinnamon, blueberry, and the like. Then, perhaps 16-ounce tubs of egg, and tuna salad. Especially on Fridays, loaves of challah could be in the mix. Pre-made bagel sandwiches also seem logical for those who need lunch but haven’t a minute to spare. Or those who have time for lunch but want to use every possible minute of it sitting at a table rather than waiting in line. Regardless of motive, if you look at the items in the Grab ‘n Go section and see what you want, then the kiosk makes it easy for you to complete your transaction expeditiously and be on your way.   

Round challah bread of the type awaiting Jewish diners-out at Marx Bagels

“We’re working on all that now, and we will have a special section devoted to the Grab ‘n Go items (and pre-paid pre-orders). We’re still working on what those items will be, but we want to have a lot of our most popular items in the mix,” Davis said.

Round challahs before being prepped for the walk-in oven

Getting back to Rosh Hashanah, round challahs are available in both raisin and plain, and while there are no guarantees of availability, Marx Bagels has hundreds of the loaves ready and waiting for the oven. Those who have last-minute needs for the bread likely will be able to get whatever is needed at the counter on Friday during sales hours. But for the record, pre-ordering and pre-paying is the way to go. Quick in, quick out, more time to celebrate.

See you at Marx Bagels!