We don't do a ton of app and business coverage on the site, as our primary focus (and readership) is on phones, other devices/gear and industry news and services with direct appeal to consumers. Sometimes we break the mold when a particular app catches an editor's eye or a story is too big - or interesting - to pass up.Snapfinger is one of those stories. On the surface it's an app that lets you order take-out meals from chain restaurants. But really, the story is about a small but very well-connected company trying to revolutionize the food service industry in the United States.I had the pleasure of eating lunch with Snapfinger CEO Jim Garrett last week at CTIA in Las Vegas. Garrett's a businessman and techie from Atlanta, and counts the very high-ups at Coke amongst his allies in the business world. Garrett was involved with the Web when "The Internet" meant "ARPANET," and his other company, Kudzu Interactive, has, in their own words, "become the restaurant industry’s de-facto standard for POS integrated online ordering, text messaging and call center remote ordering applications. " Snapfinger kicked off a consumer-facing PR campaign at the show, marking the launch of their Android app that lets users order food to go from over 28.000 restaurants across the United States. Snapfinger already has more than two million users of their iPhone OS apps and Websites, and has plans to release a dozen more mobile apps in the next 30 days (including individually branded apps for national restaurant chains). While the company currently serves big-name chains like Outback, Subway and California Pizza Kitchen, and not the cool little local shops that you might prefer, they are looking to reach independent restaurants in due time. It only makes business sense to start with the big volume customers to get some revenue churning, right? The thing about Snapfinger that impressed me - beyond the fact that their app actually works on both iPhone and Android (Jim had both an iPhone 3GS and a Moto Droid on him throughout CTIA) - is that the app is achieving results for the copmany's clients. Garrett cited all sorts of stats during our meeting, but these three stood out most to me: - The U.S. Casual/Fast Casual restaurant business does 4 Billion transactions each year - Snapfinger clients have seen a minimum 25% uptick in take-out business since going live with the service - Customer orders are 27% larger when placed via Snapfinger as compared to traditional orders (phone or in-person) Remember, this data reflects 28,000+ national chain restaurants. So a 25% bump in take-out business represents a nice pile of cash on a major corporation scale. So how does Snapfinger do it? They're doing what the restaurant business has by and large failed to do thus far: Snapfinger captures user data, remembers customers' preferences, and provides an efficient, professional ordering experience complete with "Would you like some dessert with that? Perhaps a rich, delicious Chocolate Thunder from Down Under?" upsells at the end. Suprisingly - to me and to Jim, actually - people bite on those upsells. And I'll be the first to tell you that I'd much rather order delivery from my smartphone than place a call that too-often winds up in my waiting on hold only to then have to say and spell my name and address over and over again while the person on the other end of the line struggles to write it down correctly. You've been there, right? On the phone with a part-time, perhaps teenaged, employee who couldn't care less if it takes them nine tries to spell your address correctly so long as the clock counts down to the end of their shift? So while I'm not about to start ordering from Outback for the sake of using Snapfinger, if my favorite local Pizza and Indian delivery shops ever signed on, I'd download the app in a heartbeat. In the meantime, Snapfinger is humming along quite nicely, and in addition to boosting their client's take-out revenues, they're also doing something potentially far more important: They're capturing user data in an industry incredibly devoid of such valuable information. Think about it - when you order something from a Website, your name, address, email address and order history is captured and stored. Marketers can later mine that data and use it to email you all sorts of targeted offers and promotions based on your shopping preferences. But when you eat or order take-out at a restaurant? No data gets captured. Unless you're a regular at a place with particularly attentive staff, nobody at the restaurants know your name or favorite meals, let alone your personal info. Snapfinger's apps and Website capture that info when you register and add to it each time you place an order. They don't store your credit card info, but they do keep track of what you like to order, when you order it, and which location you order it from. That sort of data is like gold to marketers, and nobody in the restaurant industry is capturing it. But now Snapfinger is. Keep an eye on these guys, even if you never order take-out or can't stomach the thought of a Bloomin' Onion. With industry connections, deep pockets, and a big head-start on the competition, Jim Garrett and Snapfinger might just be on to something here when it comes to bringing 21st Century technology to the American restaurant business. Their apps are just the beginning of the story.