THE EL­E­VA­TOR PITCH

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The only real in­no­va­tion has taken place in­side the kitchen, on the plate. The eco­nomic model is bro­ken (the av­er­age restau­rant takes home just $4 from a $100 meal) and, as the pres­sure in­creases for restau­rant own­ers, floor staff and food op­tions are re­duced in an ef­fort to save costs. In­evitably, the level of ser­vice de­creases and cus­tomers are in­creas­ingly un­sat­is­fied. I wanted to help them out.

Many great ideas thrive or die based on your abil­ity to ex­e­cute, so sur­round­ing your­self with ex­cep­tional peo­ple is ar­guably our most im­por­tant role as founders. Ex­cep­tional peo­ple in the team, as in­vestors and on the board. That is what made us great at Dimmi and that’s what will set us apart again.

Dimmi took 37 pitch meet­ings, 37 painful re­jec­tions be­fore we got our first yes. Now, we’re bring­ing to­gether some of the coun­try’s top tech ty­coons, in­clud­ing Will Easton, MD of Face­book Aus­tralia, Cliff Rosen­berg, ex-MD of LinkedIn Aus­tralia, Ja­son Pel­le­grino, ex-MD of Google Aus­tralia and Michael Ab­bott, num­ber-two at Uber Aus­tralia. It helps when you al­ready have 100 of the coun­try’s top venues chomp­ing at the bit to get your so­lu­tion.

As founders, we tend to be so pas­sion­ate about the prob­lem we are solv­ing that we live it, dream it, 24/7. Un­for­tu­nately, I think that’s just what it takes. Say­ing that, there are bound­aries that I will re­spect the sec­ond time round – yoga and med­i­ta­tion, long week­ends away once a month, and mak­ing sure ev­ery­one across the com­pany owns a part of it.

I be­lieve in cre­at­ing com­pa­nies that add value and solve real prob­lems. If you get this right, then in­evitably there will be in­ter­est from buy­ers over time, but cre­at­ing com­pa­nies to exit is, well for me any­way, just the wrong mind­set. STEP 1: Find a big prob­lem that needs to be solved. For us, peo­ple were telling us that pay­ing a bill at the end of a meal was clunky.

STEP 2:

Draw the idea to help you vi­su­alise it. I draw it out on large boards of card­board lit­er­ally hun­dreds of times. You’re hear­ing it here first, but let’s give it a crack! me&u is Aus­tralia’s new way to or­der and pay in restau­rants. Our vi­sion is to cre­ate a smart menu that lives in­side your pocket and adapts to which­ever restau­rant you walk into. Al­low­ing you to seam­lessly or­der your food and pay your bill, me&u takes care of the ba­sics so that the floor staff can spend more time el­e­vat­ing the over­all restau­rant ex­pe­ri­ence. Bet­ter ser­vice and hospi­tal­ity means the ex­pe­ri­ence be­comes less trans­ac­tional and more en­joy­able. No mat­ter where you are, me&u knows your favourite foods, di­etary needs, the best dishes and your pre­ferred method of pay­ment. No more items on the menu you won’t like or can’t eat. No more in­ter­rupt­ing the mo­ment with fam­ily and friends. And fi­nally no more hang­ing around wait­ing to pay for your meal. We are try­ing to help make restau­rants the most hos­pitable places on earth again.

STEP 3:

Val­i­date it with friends, fam­ily, would-be cus­tomers and in­dus­try ex­perts – peo­ple whose in­put you value and trust.

STEP 4: STEP 5:

Go for it! Take the big leap, and hope it catches on. Be thick­skinned and never lose faith.

COL­LEC­TIVE HUB

Re­fine, re­fine, re­fine. And, as you do, con­tinue to crys­tallise the idea.

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