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Long F&B queues are just one issue this M’sian startup addresses, here’s its real ambition

One of my biggest turn-offs when it comes to dining at a restaurant is seeing a long queue. My peeve with it isn’t the waiting time but the need to stand physically in line when I could be running other errands in the meantime.

Kewdoo is a digital queueing system that aims to solve this issue. The platform allows customers to virtually queue up for their chosen restaurant. In turn, it enables a faster table turnover rate for restaurants.

As of October 2021, Kewdoo has onboarded around 90 merchants and attracted close to 20,000 users within 10 months of launching. 

Bringing queues online

Kewdoo has 2 ways for customers to join a restaurant’s digital waiting line. They can either scan a QR code displayed at the shop’s entrance, or register themselves into the business’s system through a frontman.

Once a booking is made with the customer’s name, phone number, and the number of pax, they’re free from physically queuing and can kill the waiting time with other errands.

As soon as a table frees up, an SMS will be sent to the customer to remind them to be back in time. If they fail to show up after a set duration, the queueing system will skip to the next patron in line who can take up the freed space instead. 

Screenshots of the app / Image Credit: Kewdoo

Each restaurant can set their own durations on how long they’d like to keep customers in the “Skipped” list before removing them from the queue to clean up the system. 

In all, it’s a solution to make queue management much more efficient, benefitting both the restaurant and customer. It’s a similar strategy incorporated by Thong Kee Café, a Malaysian kopitiam we previously interviewed that coded its own in-house queueing system for quicker turnover rates and traffic management.

More than just a booking platform

Kewdoo’s closest competitors in the market today are the local reservation platforms GemSpot, TABLEAPP, and Thailand-based QueQ

Though these players have been operating in Malaysia for quite a few years now, Kewdoo believes it has more to offer than just being a table booking platform.

Co-founders Grace Lai and James Koo want to position their service as a social commerce platform for F&B merchants. More than just a booking app, they are building Kewdoo as an integrated solution that connects a restaurant’s digital queues, reservations, online food ordering, Point of Sales (POS), and customer relationship management (CRM).

Essentially, they are hoping for Kewdoo to be an all-in-one platform for a restaurant’s digital ordering and booking systems.

The ideation for Kewdoo’s social commerce platform / Image Credit: Kewdoo

Furthermore, Grace and James envision building a social media feature within Kewdoo that allows users to share about their food and dining experiences. When other users browse the posts, a link will be present for them to click on and order food from the restaurant, or make a reservation.

This is a strategy to help merchants find more customers via word-of-mouth easily, and in turn, garner more sales through the social platform which is still in the works.

However, customers can get a sneak peek of what this may look like through an “Order Now” link found on its website. Clicking on it will lead you to its food delivery platform, which works exactly like any other food delivery app.

Fueled by the pandemic

Grace and James shared that around RM100,000 has been invested into Kewdoo thus far to grow the platform. Both in their 20s, they told Vulcan Post that running a business at their young age has been challenging, since they lack access to resources in terms of funding, network, and experience. 

Co-founders of Kewdoo, Grace Lai and James Koo / Image Credit: Kewdoo

The limited resources did bring us constraints when we started and we found it difficult to gain initial customers at first, and our development timeline was delayed. However, it doesn’t stop us from running our startup. In fact, the limited resources have reminded us to stay creative and innovative in growing our business.

Grace Lai and James Koo, co-founders of Kewdoo

To date, Kewdoo already has about 90 merchants onboarded and close to 20,000 users on the platform, just 10 months after launching. On average, partner restaurants have also reported a 19% increase in online sales through Kewdoo.

They provided an example where one of their merchants, Mitasu Japanese Restaurant, reported a 65% increase in the number of reservations and a 123% increase in online orders. Another restaurant, Little Salty Café which uses Kewdoo’s reservation and queueing system, experienced more than 300% growth for their reservations. 

“We also have an inspiring success story where Kewdoo has helped a home-based merchant, DaYeh Food Gallery, to grow their business from home to opening their first physical restaurant at Sri Petaling in November,” the team added.

Both Grace and James noted that Kewdoo’s growth was catalysed by the second MCO as it accelerated the startup’s plan in launching its delivery platform. Furthermore, restaurants that originally joined Kewdoo for its delivery platform have remained even post-lockdown to adopt Kewdoo’s reservation systems too. 

These achievements have brought Kewdoo into the Top 23 Startups of MaGIC’s GAP Cohort 5 and Top 30 Startups of SIDEC’s Selangor Accelerator Program (SAP) 2021.

Through GAP, the team believes that they’ve been provided with a fast-track method to scale their startup and prepare them to become better entrepreneurs. Therefore, Grace and James plan to launch Kewdoo’s social commerce platform next year. 

While what Kewdoo is trying to do borrows elements from existing solutions across the market, there is merit in consolidating all these features under one app. However, the team must be prepared to guide merchants and customers through its usage, as they may become overwhelmed with all the services and end up dropping the app.

  • You can learn more about Kewdoo here.
  • You can read about other Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Grace Lai and James Koo, co-founders of Kewdoo

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(UEN 201431998C.)

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