New app just for those both hungry and downtown

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PHOTOS BY JOHN LOCHER. A new free app for the iPhone called Lux Delux allows users to make takeout and delivery orders at various Las Vegas restaurants. An Android app is in the works.
Andy Hsieh, left, and David Louie created the app with Jennifer Daoust to minimize wait times when placing takeout orders. To get the app, text 'LUX' to 702-800-6826,

Lux Delux, a free iPhone app that accepts takeout and delivery orders for mostly downtown restaurants, has launched.

An Android version is in the works.

The company has partnered with 50 or so food and beverage establishments, spanning from East Fremont to downtown casinos to the Arts District. Two Chinatown restaurants are listed, as are a few Henderson restaurants and Lee’s Liquor.

Customers can place orders and pay on the app at no extra charge. Lux Delux collects an undisclosed percentage from business owners, who provide their full menus.

Restaurants include downtown eateries Rachel’s Kitchen and Le Thai, casino spots Hash House A Go Go and Aloha Specialties and neighboring favorites Casa Don Juan and Chicago Joes, among others.

San Francisco-based founder and CEO Andy Hsieh started working on the app a year ago because he wanted to minimize wait times when placing takeout orders.

“Think about the process. You call in your order, you wait in line when you get there to pay and pick up,” said David Louie, director of strategic partnerships. “We wanted to optimize that experience.”

Lux Delux-placed orders are paid for and ready to go when the customer arrives. Some of the restaurants offer delivery to 11 set locations such as the Bank of America lobby, The Smith Center, Zappos headquarters, Work In Progress co-working space and various high rises. The company is thinking about adding bike delivery.

Hsieh, a brother of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, said when you count casino eateries there are 150 restaurants downtown, a number that surprises most.

Because full menus are posted and new partners are being added, Hsieh said the app can be used to learn about new spots. Lux Delux has partnered with Life Is Beautiful to help festivalgoers navigate the downtown food landscape.

“It’s one of the best ways to explore new restaurants,” Louie said. “It’s a great way for people to stay up to date.”

Kathy Wilson, owner of Rachel’s Kitchen in the Ogden, was one of the first business owners to start using the app.

Wilson said six orders per day are placed through the app, and she is pleased with its payment system.

“It’s very efficient, but more importantly, it translates to a happy customer,” Wilson said.

Shauna Dong, manager at Le Thai, has had 16 orders placed through the app, which just completed beta testing and is mostly discovered by word of mouth. “It’s pretty cool,” Dong said. “They have people order through the app and we get a fax. We get extra customers that way.”

Dong said the only drawback is there’s no way to limit how many customers order at one time. At peak lunch hours, she said she might have to call the customer to cancel or have them wait for up to one hour.

She said it wouldn’t be a problem in a bigger kitchen, but Le Thai is small, so she’s working with the founders to limit lunchtime orders or inform customers of potential long waits.

“As long as the communication is clear, I think it’s good for us and good for everyone,” Dong said.

To get the app, text ‘LUX’ to 702-800-6826.

This article first appeared in the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Oct. 5, 2013.