In an entrepreneurial landscape chewed up by social distancing, it’s feast or famine for local restaurants — but DashNow has a recipe for recovery, said Brett Karlin.
“The value is being able to work with these local businesses. To help them out, to provide a product that they need to help keep their doors open,” added Karlin, vice president and co-founder of the Lenexa-based hospitality-tech startup, which has on-boarded more than 130 restaurants since March — in large part because of a new text-to-pay option that eliminates physical points of contact.
“For us, that’s massive growth during a period of time when some restaurants are closed permanently because they don’t know how to handle the new environment.”
And admittedly, neither did DashNow, he continued.
“There was a period of two or three weeks where we weren’t really sure what was going to happen or where we were going to go or how we were going to pivot,” Karlin said of the initial shock the pandemic brought with it as DashNow watched its target market shutter.
Click here to read more about the company’s QR code-based, mobile payment platform which launched in 2018.
“[What we found was] we have restaurant owners who have known one thing their entire life and that’s how to get people into the restaurant and provide service in the restaurant,” Karlin said. “Now they had the phones are ringing off the hook.”
DashNow answered the call with its contactless payment system — which modifies its original QR code-based, dine-in payment platform to one restaurants could trigger with a text message during the curbside ordering process.
“In that text message, the customer sitting at home can click the link and it pops open our platform. It would be the same exact screen that you would see if you were sitting in the restaurant, scanning a QR code,” he said, detailing the process that saves restaurants time and completely eliminates points of contact between customers and restaurant staff in an affordable, easy to set up way.
“[People] don’t want to stay home and cook every single night. They still want to go out and get food, but we realized inefficiencies in that whole [curbside and take out] process.”
The platform also gives customers the option to alert a restaurant when they arrive to pick up their order, Karlin said.
“That little pivot took our business from not knowing where we’re going to go and basically, ‘Hey, if we can’t figure something out here within the next couple of months we may have to pause or close our doors,’ to now [being what] every single restaurant is looking for.”
Check out a demo for the DashNow tech below, then keep reading.
More importantly, the switch allowed Kansas City restaurants that otherwise might have been forced to close, to stay afloat, Karlin said.
“That’s what motivates us. Being able to work with these local businesses, to help them out, to provide a product that they need to help keep their doors open — that kind of feels like it gives them an advantage,” he said. “It’s just been really awesome.”
Boasting such customers as the slew of restaurants under the umbrella of Bread and Butter Concepts and community staples like Nick and Jake’s and Wally’s Grill and Drafthouse, DashNow has also eliminated contracts and is enrolling new customers on a month-to-month basis, Karlin said.
“There’s not a lot of roadblocks in place for us to put our product in [place.] We’re really trying to do everything we can to help restaurants out and we know if we provide the value that they need, they’re not going to turn around and turn us off,” he said, noting customers have been more than understanding of the company’s startup growing pains and are eager to grow with DashNow as brighter days form.
“There’s really no better feeling than knowing that you’re helping somebody out.”