Taiwan has a wide range of restaurants serving the some of the best food in the world: many would attest to that. Since a decade ago, many has tried to build mobile applications for restaurants, hoping to make the process of taking restaurant orders more convenient. However, they often failed at persuading restaurants to come onboard and use their system.
But that’s changing now.
iCHEF, the winner of Taiwan’s competition 2013 Meet Neo Star Demo Show, was the first startup who successfully developed a mobile restaurant system, and convinced almost 100 restaurants to pay for using their product.
It all began from a famous Taiwanese restaurant MAZENDO: iCHEF, the iPad mobile restaurant management system, was developed to help improve its own service process. It was designed specifically to improve the restaurant’s own operating process. Using the cloud computing system, iCHEF combines all the information needed by the restaurant.
With iCHEF, you can manage all the operations you need: everything from monitor sales, guest count, peak hour performance queuing, sending orders to kitchen, seating, serving, and printing out the receipt. What is more interesting is this: even if the internet is offline, iCHEF can still function normally.
iCHEF iPad console
On top of that, iCHEF also support the Taiwan government’s E-invoice standard, so restaurant owners can save time on filing government invoices as well as enjoy tax benefit every year.
The robust system allowed iCHEF to open up its solution to other restaurants. Soon after, up to 100 restaurants signed on and are now paying for iCHEF’s service. The number is currently still growing as more and more restaurants are signing up for the end to end solution.
Here’s how it works:
Key to iCHEF’s success in getting restaurants onboard
When Vulcan Post spoke to the iCHEF team, it is interesting to note that they aspire to be like IKEA. The company hopes to provide customized service that users can obtain through managing simple settings on the platform.
iCHEF has been targeting those restaurants who don’t have their own IT department but focus heavily on improving their service quality. By using iCHEF, these independent restaurants can spend less time dealing with exhausting administrative and work.
Being restaurant owners themselves, the iCHEF team always think and make their decisions from their user’s perspective.
Most people think technology as something that is more advanced than other industries. However, this is wrong. We found out that the restaurant industry is very advanced. The industry has been developed for over 3,000 years. They know how to communicate, to prepare the food, and to train new workers in the most efficient way. It was us who have to learn from the various restaurants ownvers, and try to help them to be more efficient using technologies, said iCHEF Chief Marketing Officer Ken.
Ken also added that changing the traditional mindset and understanding the core problem each restaurants is facing, are some of their key to signing on so many restaurant partners.
For the market accept your product, you have to be in the user’s shoes first.
To illustrate that, Ken pointed out an example of a problem many restaurants are facing: the current point of sale machines at most restaurants are very dated and often contain too many buttons and are hard to operate. iCHEF takes this into consideration and focuses on providing a simple and easy to use solution.
iCHEF has also been very critical on their quality of technology, because restaurants have very low tolerance for system breakdowns. iCHEF has to make sure that even without the Internet, it still can function properly.
As a parting advise to other companies or startups, iCHEF emphasized that entrepreneurs should get rid of engineering thinking, and think from the user’s perspective. At the end of the day, what truly matters is to satisfy the needs of the users.