In 2021, Waitrr joined Cohort 4 of the Accelerating Asia flagship 100 day program.
As part of our award-winning accelerator VC, Waitrr is eligible for up to US$250k in investment from our early stage VC fund and access to resources, access and tools to fast-track growth. Apply now to join the Accelerating Asia portfolio
Partners: 100+ restaurants including PAUL Bakery, Da Paolo Gastronomia and Changi Airport
Currently raising: US$2.5M
Waitrr is on a mission to make restaurants, cafes & bars more profitable through QR ordering, loyalty & payments. Started in 2015, Waitrr allows restaurant guests to use their own phones to place orders and pay directly at restaurants. Today, Waitrr works with 100+ restaurants, cafes and bars in five countries, and is trusted by major brands like PAUL Bakery, Da Paolo Gastronomia and Changi Airport Group.
How does Waitrr work?
For restaurants it’s really simple as there's no hardware involved. All restaurants need to do is put our QR codes on their tables and typically, they're ready to go in 2-3 business days.
For the customer it is really easy as well, all they need to do is scan the QR code on the table.
Waitrr opens up on the web so they don't need to download anything and boom, they can see the menu and can place an order, it's very smooth.
What key problem for restaurants are you trying to solve?
Tim W: I worked in six different countries in restaurants. Wherever I went, manpower issues were the number one problem for restaurant owners. It's always finding staff, training them, retaining them, that is a big headache for restaurant owners.
Seeing this problem, we wanted to create a digital waiter that is always available and always a helpful resource for restaurant owners.
How does Waitrr connect restaurants and diners?
Ordering and paying is really just the start of the experience that customers have with the restaurant. What we really wanted to do with Waitrr was create a digital connection between the diner and restaurant.
By ordering through Waitrr, we connect them digitally, which opens up opportunities for so many other things we can do. Waitrr has a built-in loyalty program so you don't need to open any other app, or any other tool, to collect your loyalty rewards as you might normally do.
We already know what you ordered and how much you spend. So, if you're eligible you will get a loyalty stamp for example, automatically. The other thing is after your dining experience, you can submit your feedback directly to the restaurant owner.
From the start to the end, there is a communication link between the diner and the restaurant.
TRACTION & FUNDRAISING
Tell us about your recent traction
We were growing very well before covid - double-digit percent before covid, then things went into very strict lockdowns. We saw all the traffic drop but then when all of the markets reopen again, we came back almost 10 times stronger than we were before. In 2020, Waitrr had 5X year on year growth and on average increased restaurant profits by 20%.
What is your secret sauce?
Compared to so many of the other solutions we’ve seen out there, we deeply care about the customer journey and really going above and beyond with customer support, both for the restaurant side, but also on the user side.
We have seen other competitors come up and try to copy us, and really just copy the technology but they really couldn't keep up with good service and eventually they don’t last. That’s something that we’re consistently getting really good feedback about.
Also, we approach it like a partnership. A lot of what we do is fitting in around the restaurant operations so that they don't have to change what they're doing, without making any changes they are able to add Waitrr in, and accelerate their sales. Waitrr helps restaurants improve customer service and reduce costs with minimal changes. And that comes from our understanding of what they do and what they need, and we are able to provide that great support and advice to really be their partners.
Are you currently fundraising?
We are indeed fundraising. We're now raising $2.5 million in an equity round and this money will be used to bring Waitrr to the next level.
Last year we validated the product when we had all this demand and we experienced significant organic growth. But what we want to do now is to set up sales teams and really invest into growth.
What are your plans for the next 6-12 months?
We will sign up the next 1000 restaurants and make Waitrr a platform that can be used by any restaurant, no matter how big or small.
It’s not limited to geographies, any restaurant anywhere in the world, eventually can be able to use Waitrr. By adding another 1000 restaurants to the platform we will demonstrate that Waitrr works at scale. Because if you can do a 1000 restaurants, then there are no limits to the top.
Today we work with over 100 restaurants ranging from independent restaurants to big global chains like PAUL Bakery.
THE TEAM BEHIND WAITRR
Tim Wekezer: My parents owned restaurants so I really didn't have much choice. I was thrown into the industry ever since I was a small kid and I have more than 25 years of F&B experience. I really wanted to connect the restaurant industry which is still very offline and low-tech, with modern day technology that we see in e-commerce.
Tim Davies: I joined Waitrr three years ago after working in other startups, and my background was in banking and marketing. I came from big corporates, but then I did my MBA at a school that specialises in entrepreneurship and moved into startups.
I'd met Tim after a couple of years of living in Singapore. We got to know each other, we became friends and we were sharing startup stories. In 2017, Tim was looking to hire a General Manager and so I joined the team. Then together we grew the business massively. That General Manager role turned into Co-Founder, and it’s great because together we’re really growing the business and we’re supporting restaurants around the world.
WAITRR AND ACCELERATING ASIA
What is one thing that the Accelerating Asia team did that changed how you approached your startup?
While we knew that we had a great business going into the program, the Accelerating Asia team helped us sharpen our messaging and approach to fundraising, to accelerate our growth.
Why did you decide to join Accelerating Asia?
We heard really good things about the Founders – Craig and Amra and in general, about the team. We really took our time to get to know them and asked feedback from other people who participated in the program, which was extremely consistent about how good it is and how helpful it is.
A lot of the things that previous cohorts have also spoken about has been little tricks you can do to accelerate your growth, and doing that over and over again and automating the process to make it replicable, scalable and very fast.
We decided that we really wanted to learn how to transform the Waitrr into a sales organisation and that’s where Accelerating Asia comes in.
Also, Accelerating Asia has a really strong network specifically in the investor community, which is important because we are fundraising, but is also in line with the fact that we're a B2B company. Working with different partners in the ecosystem is really important and is one way that has enabled us to expand to different markets.
And so, because of all of those elements, we decided that Accelerating Asia was a really good fit for Waitrr.
Why would you recommend Accelerating Asia to a fellow founder?
The Accelerating program is tailored to the needs of each startup, so people that go through the program get maximum benefit for their stage of development.
Waitrr was selected for Cohort 4 of our flagship 100 day program. During our last recruitment round Accelerating Asia received 500 applications from 30 countries and we have with 2000+ startups per year.
If you’re interested in connecting with Waitrr, investing alongside us, meeting our portfolio companies, or just generally interested in talking to us about startup investing, please reach out and tell us a little bit about yourself.
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