Channel Success Stories: Disrupt your market
In 2011 Daniel Rogers and Ronnie Forbes launched QikServe, an innovative mobile ordering and payment app for the
restaurant and fast food business on the back of the growing adoption of smartphones and the consumer demand for a fast and flexible service.
Maria Hamilton, Founder of StepUp2Grow Consulting, caught up with Ronnie to hear more about their journey, their recent funding success and how channel partners were so important in supporting their global ambitions to dominate the hospitality mobile self-service market.
How did you and Dan come up with the idea behind QikServe? Dan was in London with his kids at a busy restaurant and was struggling to get served whilst keeping an eye on his young children. His irritation led him to thinking that there was more power in his smartphone than in the POS systems that they were using, so the seedling of an idea was sown.
After some initial research and speaking to key restaurant operators, he found a gap in the restaurant market for mobile self-service, combined with the real customer need for flexible fast service. At that time other sectors such as Banking, Retail and Travel had fully embraced mobile self-service. Having pioneered and established 2D mobile barcode self-service applications for the airline industry, I came onboard to drive through the technology, excited about the potential opportunity we had to make our product a market leader.
Tell me more about the QikServe product? The omni-channel QikServe platform and mobile app allows restaurant operators to give its guests control over their own ordering and payment journey; they can browse the menu, customise their order, order in advance, collect rewards and pay when they like, in different ways including mobile.
In addition to the app, we gave operators flexibility to allow their guests to use kiosks, tablets, and desktop web and all these channels connect to the restaurant’s back end systems such as Point-Of-Sale (POS), payments and loyalty solutions. This gives the restaurant operator a good insight into some detailed information about their guests enabling them to offer more attractive, relevant incentives and a better customer experience.
How did you launch QikServe initially? As with any small start-up technology innovator, the need to move quickly and be agile was key to take leadership of the market. In 2012, we built a minimum viable product, filed patents and then attended the National Restaurant Association show, the key American tradeshow for the hospitality industry, followed by attending trade shows down in London and around the UK. We both quickly recognised that for our product to be adopted, it needed to be integrated with existing hospitality solutions so that the customer had a seamless experience from ordering right through to payment. Working with the key POS providers was our priority and MICROS, with a customer base of 300,000 clients globally, was our preferred supplier of choice.
Tell me more about your first channel approach To be honest we weren’t getting any traction in our approaches to MICROS, so we reached out to their customers directly who became early adopters of our platform. We literally had to set up a system whereby we bypassed the MICROS POS system entirely. After a while, our actions got noticed at MICROS HQ and we were summoned to their London offices with their intention being to tell us to cease and desist our actions. However, we turned the situation around and MICROS to their credit saw an opportunity and decided to partner with us. With our major POS channel partner onboard and our product being sold through their sales channel, we had it made… or so we thought we did.
Tune in next week, by following me, to find out more about the next stage of QikServe’s channel journey and gain some ‘real world’ tips on how to grow your business using channels to market.
Key pointers in establishing your channels to market:
Identify a gap in the market and clearly understand how your product can address an unmet need
Use a third party intermediary (channel) to grow your revenues unless you have the resources and time to develop your business organically
Have a go-to market strategy
Be agile and move quickly
Disrupt your market to get noticed