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