The use of high-end technologies is becoming more common in the food and beverage business. TECHx Executive Editor Rabab Zehra spoke with Zhong Xu, CEO, and co-founder of Deliverect, and Naji Haddad, Middle East General Manager of Deliverect, to discover more about the newest trends, the idea behind Deliverect, and AI in the F&B market. Let’s take a closer look at the responses we got.
TECHx: Please tell us more about Deliverect. What sparked the idea for this concept in the first place, and how does it work?
Zhong: I grew up around the restaurant industry as my father built a POS for restaurants in Asia. He inspired me to take over the business but I had other plans. In 2011, I built my own cloud-based POS with co-founder Jan Hollez. In 2014, we were acquired by Lightspeed and I became the Global Director of Hospitality. I gained a lot of experience speaking with restaurant owners and managers on a daily basis to better help them solve challenges related to operations and management.
Delivery was already rising during this time, well before COVID-19. I witnessed first-hand the many pains restaurants were facing when offering delivery. Virtual kitchens were just at the very beginning of their development but I knew this was going to be big and something that would stay. Together with Jan, we thought of a solution to solve the pain point that comes with managing online delivery platforms and that’s how Deliverect was ‘born’ in 2018 – as a way to bridge the gap between delivery platforms and POS systems.
Deliverect integrates third-party food ordering platforms into the restaurant’s point-of-sale system, making rekeying orders and the costly errors that come with it a thing of the past. With all online orders centrally managed, businesses can increase operational efficiency, which will ramp up customer satisfaction, as well.
We want to save the restaurants’ time and money by automating repetitive tasks so they can focus on doing the things they love and are passionate about.
TECHx: What role is technology playing in the F&B industry? What do you think the industry’s greatest technology trends will be in the next few years?
Zhong: F&B is known to be a low-margin industry in which the optimization of operations and business processes while reducing waste is crucial. Today, the market is equipped with technology that can automate repetitive manual work so restaurants can focus on the human aspect of their services, making sure that they provide excellent and personal services.
Deliverect connects Zomato, Deliveroo, Talabat and more delivery platforms directly to the restaurant ePOS system, ending operational delivery management issues while providing analytics and consolidated reports to help restaurant owners make educated decisions.
Additionally, restaurants need solutions that are easy and straightforward to use as they usually don’t have IT teams to manage their tech. With online orders automatically pushed to the POS, there’s no need to manually re-enter order receipts anymore, saving time and eliminating errors.
TECHx: How has the pandemic affected the need for restaurants to deliver food, and how has Deliverect responded?
Zhong: We’ve seen a boom in the delivery business. Prior to the lockdowns, many restaurants still saw delivery and online ordering as nice-to-have features. With COVID-19 restrictions, restaurant owners realized that being online is the way to survive. But although COVID-19, accelerated online ordering, this was a transition that was already taking place and that will continue for the years to come. Just as retail and entertainment have transformed, hospitality has also been impacted the changing consumer behavior. We’ve seen restaurants changing their approach, being inventive in terms of engaging customers through online channels by being online on multiple platforms, organizing special offers and giveaways. The delivery sector has become crucial for the survival of the hospitality industry.
When we started Deliverect in 2019, we didn’t foresee COVID, but we’re proud that we have been able to address the needs of restaurant owners during such a critical time. We recently raised funds that will help us invest heavily in this region by ensuring local presence, opening local offices and hiring a team of highly skilled individuals who will not just help us further develop our relationship with our customers but also listen to their feedback about what they need. We accordingly act upon the market demands to add value and better serve our clients.
TECHx: Will AI play a part in the F&B industry, and if so, how?
Naji: Artificial Intelligence will be an integral part of the F&B industry because it simplifies and automates workflow. Not only does AI simplify many of the tasks that need to be done, but it also reduces cost, and ensures the best business environment by providing future predictions and sharing recommendations accordingly. For example, some of the countries now are starting to open-up after COVID-19 lockdown but restaurants are only allowed to operate outdoors. Owners need to be able to get the weather for the upcoming week, engineer the menu based on customer purchase analytics and re-price items based on the ordering rate. Therefore, artificial intelligence offers competitive advantage to restaurants.
TECHx: How does Deliverect’s recent fundraising impact your local presence?
Naji: This region in specific has ample potential and hunger for online and offline food orders. Restaurants in the GCC are looking for solutions that will help integrate the different channels of delivery to their POS system while automating most of their operations. This is why we are investing in this region and ensuring local presence by opening local offices and hiring a team of highly skilled individuals who will not just help us further develop our relationship with our customers but also listen to their feedback about what they need. We accordingly act upon the market demands to add value and better serve our clients.
TECHx: What are the best ways for restaurants to effectively manage multiple delivery aggregators?
Naji: Deliverect helps restaurants do exactly that! We connect aggregators like Talabat, Zomato, Deliveroo and more delivery platforms directly to the restaurant ePOS system, ending operational delivery management issues. With online orders automatically pushed to the ePOS, there’s no need to manually re-enter order receipts anymore, saving time and eliminating errors.
Additionally, our menu builder enables the operational team to easily build a menu and push it live on multiple delivery platforms and for multiple locations. They can also make any changes or updates to the menu at any time and from one single dashboard that goes live into all delivery channels.
The centralisation of all this data also enables restaurants and other food businesses to get consolidated reporting of all their channels.