Stas Matviyenko loves a great lunch out. Not just the food, but also the chance to take a break from the stress of the workday. But there’s one part of the experience he could definitely live without.

“Waiting for food at restaurants has always been a test of patience,” he says, “considering the small amount of time we have for lunch.”

After some commiserating with friends and colleagues, Matviyenko, a tech executive in Eastern Europe, did some research and found that on the average lunch, he spent up to 40 minutes waiting and only 15 minutes actually eating.

After already building a mobile restaurant loyalty program and mobile payment app, Matviyenko set his sights on Allset, an app that allows customers to reserve a table, browse the menu, place an order and pay ahead—all from their phone before they even head out to lunch. Ideally, the app allows a restaurant to have lunch ready when customers are ready and, with built-in payment, customers can leave at their leisure.

After launching a similar platform in Europe, Allset launched in late September with about 30 California restaurants. Matviyenko, the company’s CEO, says tech-savvy diners and busy businesspeople are the primary target audience.

Prospect Restaurant, a trendy 168-seat spot in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, started using the Allset app in September. Laura Lascoe, Prospect’s new media manager, says the app’s utility is very supportive of restaurants—and flexible. Prospect planned to freeze the app during its busy December weeks. Allset also only charges restaurants $1 per table.

While some restaurants may use Allset to have food waiting on customers, Lascoe says Prospect still waits until customers are seated at their table to make a dish. But Lascoe says it still helps expedite things for the customers and the restaurant.

“Allset eliminates time with being presented menus, waiting for a server to return with drinks, and taking an order,” Lascoe says. “The food is not sitting somewhere ready for you but that cluttered service process in substantially reduced.”

Prospect, which draws customers from the many startups in its neighborhood, decided to ease into the app, seating about four to six tables a week from it. And its customers are already used to similar technology: about six in 10 of the restaurant’s reservations come from OpenTable.

Lascoe says the restaurant isn’t pushing Allset on all customers, but is promoting it across its social media accounts. So far, Lascoe says, busy business customers have responded positively.

“People want service, they want efficiency and they want it within their allocated time so they don’t miss their next meeting,” she says.

Feature, Technology