Analytics and data sciences applied to restaurant customer experience - MeDine’s story
While we have plethora of apps for wine and dine, very few ease the entire affair. Here comes MeDine, compatible with Android 2.2 and up, that enables you to surf restaurants, place order, detects restaurants using GPS and call the waiter or ask for your bill/cheque by pressing the ‘Bell’ in the app. For restaurants, it leverages data sciences and technology to drive delightful customer experiences.MeDine (app link) is a brainchild of Satish and Sachin, each of whom has more than a decade experience in analytics, IT, and data sciences. In their previous stints, they consulted for many Fortune 500 companies, developed products ranging from banking and insurance to retail to telecommunications and healthcare. They have been knowing each other for quite a few years in their corporate life and share a common passion for analytics and in experimenting with different cuisines and travel.
Striking features of MeDine
- Sleek, fast and easy to use across multiple restaurants in Bangalore.
- Auto detection of restaurants using GPS and auto-loading of the menu card when you are inside the restaurant.
- One click to repeat your last order.
- App notifications for reminding users to get freebies and discounts once they are in MeDine restaurants.
- Call the waiter or ask for your bill/cheque by pressing the ‘Bell’ in the app.
- You can see dish level ratings as well as recommended dishes when you drill down.
- Know what your friends liked, keep track of the bills, and many more features.
How the idea evolved?"Many a time we loathed touching menu cards, waiting for people to take orders and also had ordered items by saying “get me the one on page 3, 2nd item, if its veg –as we did not have an idea of the cuisine/ dish. The restaurant has no idea what we like what we don’t and what best to suggest us based on our likes and preferences. The idea for MeDine came up when we visited restaurants across the world but never found a restaurant that understood the customer’s preference and serves the food we like," says Satish, co-founder MeDine.
Traction and revenue model
“We have had a good run for the past 4-5 months as compared to the initial days when we struggled a lot. Our restaurant base is increasing everyday and we currently have signed up with more than 60 restaurants in Bangalore alone (our focus is now to get Bangalore MeDine’d),” says Satish. MeDine’s customer base has increased from a few 100s to some good 1000s now and orders through MeDine have increased substantially as well. “Adoption is kicking in, as we expand our restaurant base and repeat usage is very high amongst MeDine users,” adds Satish.
As of now, the sign-up fee for the platform is free till it reaches 100 restaurants on the board . However, it does have premium offerings over the base version where MeDine currently charges are based on outcomes.
Finding talent is hard, in fact very hard
“We could not find talent at all, and if we did, they were not ready to work for a start-up like ours. When we said we did not have any physical working office space, nobody even believed us,” says Satish. The first person to trust them on face value was Anita who
joined as Head of Platform Engineering. “We hire the right person by wading through 100s of resumes, conduct interviews for almost 50+ candidates and select 1 or 2 and still we continue to struggle to find the right talent,” adds Satish.Challenges
The startup had multiple challenges ranging from proving the concept to making a restaurant sign-up to making a customer use it repeatedly. Getting the right talent and engaging customers with constant non-intrusive communication (it has a strict policy on privacy!) were great roadblocks too. “Thanks to our early adopters of restaurateurs who saw a lot of value in MeDine and they continue to show faith in the product and accelerate our innovations to drive value,” says Satish.
For the next few months, MeDine’s focus continues to be in Bangalore and as its gaining strong foothold in the garden city. The startup plans to implement its cloud-based product in some reputed chain restaurants/fast food joints along with others. “Once we MeDine Bangalore, we will go to other places, the first one being Pune, where we already have a significant presence,” signs off Satish.