This Dubai-based startup offers contactless ordering solutions for restaurants amid coronavirus
Social distancing is the new normal due to the coronavirus outbreak. People and companies are coming up with strategies and techniques to ensure that a safe distance is maintained even on a regular day of business. Startups are coming up with solutions that reduce the need for physical contact.
One such startup is Dubai-based, which offers digital menus in restaurants and other places.
Founded by Abhishek Bose, My Menu entered India in February 2020 just ahead of the coronavirus outbreak. . Abhishek has partnered with industry veteran and his friend, Neeren Tewari, to take care of its operations and expansion in India.
Abhishek Bose: Founder and CEO of My Menu
My Menu was globally launched in March 2019 and is now present in 1,000-plus restaurants across the US, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, India, Spain, Portugal, and Brazil. It is a self-managed solution available in over 142 languages, which makes it the ideal solution for a global rollout for bigger brands.
My Menu aims to help increase sales, efficiency, and guest satisfaction, while reducing labour costs. It claims to increase both the top line and bottom line of any restaurant by 30 percent.
“We are an all-in-one solution – Tablet Menu, QR Menu, QR Ordering, and Online Ordering. All this on one platform that can take care of all your menu needs. Our platform has only one objective – to increase the average check value by up-selling, increase guests satisfaction and efficiency, and decrease costs,” Abhishek Bose, Founder and CEO at My Menu, tells YourStory.
Abhishek has experience of 25 years working in the hospitality technology space. He started his career with Micros-Fidelio (now Oracle), implementing systems across hotels. He has been involved in over 36+ hotel openings. Afterwards, he became Assistant Director of IT at the prestigious seven-star hotel Burj Al-Arab for four years.
Since then, he has been involved in various successful startups in the Middle East. During his experience of being a restaurateur and a partner at a few restaurant brands, he realised the need for a digital division in hotels and restaurants.
“Being the owner and manager of my restaurants, I already had problems in my hand and did not want another headache when it comes to taking pictures or videos or if changes are required in the menu cards. That is how we started and grew. We wanted to create an experience and that is what we have been focusing on over the last year-and-a-half in terms of creating better products,” Abhishek explains.
He started by looking at mid-tier restaurants that believe in table service, but struggle with the service as the staff turnover in the industry is high. This made him focus on increasing the average check value by upselling the restaurants’ food.
Slowly, with a team of 12 members, the startup started adding more features such as video, more information on the food, feedback, different language options, etc.
“Imagine if you had to do all that in a printed menu. The cost factor would be so much higher here. But with My Menu, it is just the one-time cost of the tablet mainly,” adds the founder.
Currently, Abhishek’s friend, who is a veteran in the Indian F&B industry, Neeren Tewari, manages the operations of My Menu in India. He is the Director at My Menu India.
Some of its clients include Novotel, Ibis, Mercure, Royal Orchid, Oakwood, Zone by Park, Biryani Batuta - RPG group, and Radisson.
How it works
A customer can use My Menu digital menu card while ordering food online or while visiting a restaurant.
My Menu showcases beautiful images and videos which upsell the food. It showcases each menu item with image/video on autoplay, information on the ingredient, calorie count, and recommends items that pair well with the menu item the customer is browsing.
“Moreover, the recommended items help in increasing the average check value. What the consumers see is what they get, ensuring that the guest expectations are met, increasing their satisfaction,” adds Abhishek.
My Menu claims to be 100 percent customisable, which allows the restaurant to showcase their menu through the colours and images they want. It is also possible to run a video as a background on the start screen. Its QR Code per table helps to identify the table number and orders are sent straight to the order panel, increasing efficiency.
The COVID-19 crisis
My Menu is now offering a complimentary QR ordering solution to restaurants worldwide to serve in the post-COVID-19 era. The aim is to prepare the industry for upcoming socio-economic changes post the pandemic, given that a host of industries will go through a complete overhaul in consumer demography, behaviour, and industry trends post the crisis.
“Due to COVID-19, we see many players trying to enter this space. Most of them are only focused on the QR Menu. Whereas we are a complete all-in-one menu platform with a clear focus on increasing the average check value for our restaurant clients. I would say we hold the leading position in this space as of now,” Abhishek says.
To limit the use of the single most reusable and essential item in a restaurant – the food menu, digitalised menu supported by QR code is a strategic solution that will prove to be successful for active prevention. The strategic initiative offers various solutions where the QR ordering can be done via the guest's mobile. The guest scans a QR code on their mobile, sees the menu, and places the order via the mobile without downloading any app.
Its 'all-in-one' menu and order management can be used by all kinds of restaurants as the digital menu can be managed remotely. The QR ordering system allows guests a complete and contactless self-ordering system, and table service to communicate with the wait staff.
My Menu's online ordering and restaurant delivery module can interface with any restaurant POS, making it the add-on module for restaurants to start accepting orders directly and avoid paying hefty commissions to third-party aggregators/delivery portals.
“In the last six weeks, we have grown from 350 restaurants in a few countries to 1,800+ restaurants in 18+ countries. This is because the menu is the most used item in a restaurant and the virus can survive on surfaces for days. Hence, in most countries, it becomes a law to use either contactless menus or use throw-away printed menus. Thanks to our QR Menu and QR Ordering function, we were already ready to address the market which gave us a head start. We have grown by 500 percent in revenue in the last six weeks,” says Abhishek.
In the first 18 months, the company claims to have grown to 300+ restaurant clients organically through word of mouth.
“Being hoteliers, it was very clear what we wanted to achieve or what we wanted our platform to do. Unfortunately, it was not easy to execute. In fact, we sat on our beta product for over eight months before we decided to take it to market. We wanted our product to have all the bells and whistles when we launched. That's why the feedback has been very positive from day one,” Abhishek recalls.
The company has a monthly subscription fee starting at $31/$39 monthly if paid annually or monthly. The startup has been self-funded till now by the founders along with the CFO of the company, Prateek Dayal. The team adds that the company has always maintained an operational profit, which has helped fuel its growth.
However, going ahead, Abhishek wants to establish his startup as the clear market leader in the digital menu vertical globally.