Tired of waiting for your meal? This Delhi-based startup uses AI to make checkout and dine-in experiences smoother
Sitting at a restaurant in Delhi, in 2018, Karan Sood was frustrated about the amount of time it took from ordering to the meal reaching his table. He realised that it wasn’t just him who was annoyed by the delays. His family and many others around him had to wait for a long time for their meals. All this got him thinking of how to solve the problem, which led him to start Fastor.
Fastor is providing contactless solutions with Fastor Future, which is an AI-enabled self-checkout technology platform that is aimed at expediting the takeaway and dine-in process at food joints and retail places. A portmanteau of Fast + Ordering, Fastor has introduced scan, order, and pay system to make the ordering process seamless.
Karan tells YourStory that the idea behind Fastor is to implement an efficient mechanism in retail by adding a new way to order, thus enhancing the customer experience.
At the same time, Fastor is also trying to build a network of food outlets and retails which use its tech-enabled platform to provide a holistic end-to-end business experience.
“I felt that it would help to create a product that could prevent queues at counters and enable placing orders through an asynchronous process. Allowing you to know when your order is prepared and when you’ll be able to get it would be a great alternative to calling and asking the waiter time and again,” explains Karan.
He roped in Anmol Wadhwani as the other founder, who is a BBA graduate and has experience working as a Digital Marketer at Cashkaro. She started a food blog a couple of years back, and soon diversified into the emerging markets of lifestyle and fashion.
The duo also roped in mentors like Rajeev Sood, who has experience of over 25 years in the corporate sector, and Sanjay Sharma, an ex-Microsoft Country Sales Head with an experience of 20 years of working in renowned companies and heading their sales and marketing.
Fastor started with its beta runs in October 2019 in Delhi-NCR. The team tested the systems at high footfall locations, and did a full-scale launch in January 2020.
The COVID-19 shift
“Though it was our first attempt at creating the market for this product, the response on the ground was phenomenal. Fastor had done close to 5,000+ orders till February 2020. From here on, we were looking for growth in terms of our merchant network, but the global lockdown changed everything,” says Karan.
Though this was an unfortunate situation, the team took the lockdown as an opportunity to scale the product, and now a global launch is in the pipelines.
“We are now starting our operations in the major world economies like India, US, and Southeast Asia. Fastor currently supports all major global gateways, and is fully compliant to execute orders in international markets,” adds Karan.
With Fastor, whenever a customer goes out to eat, they don't have to touch the menu or call a waiter. They can simply sit on the table, which has a QR code assigned to it. They can open Google Lens or an iPhone scanner, and scan the QR code.
“After scanning, you will get the entire dynamic menu of the restaurant on your phone. You don’t have to download any application for it, and can simply access the catalogue and order through a web app. You can select the food items that you want to order in the cart, and can directly pay using any digital payment method,” says Karan.
The model and market
Fastor has also come up with Fastor Business, which is another application where restaurants can handle and process all their orders and take care of the operations. While the team refused to share their charges, they say they follow a SaaS-based revenue model to charge the restaurants for using the platform.
Fastor is looking to onboard over 2,000 new merchants in the next three months, with a current rate of 20+ new onboardings per day. The team has currently tied up with a few top restaurants in Delhi.
According to Mordor Intelligence, India's food service sector is "one of those vibrantly growing markets that have seen exceptional growth during the past decade, and continues to expand rapidly during the forecast period.”
It is forecast to reach $95.75 billion by 2024, registering a CAGR of 10.3 percent during the forecast period (2019-2024). The restaurant management startup competes with NutnBolt, EagleOwl, PayTouch, Shogo, and Cohesion.
Currently bootstrapped, Fastor, with all its products, is aiming to ultimately build an ecosystem for the merchants and customers by providing them innovative technology solutions with possibilities for restaurants to re-engage with their customers during the ‘new normal’ and expand their businesses.
Edited by Kanishk Singh