Xeno turns 3 & announces investment from Techstars & METRO

Courage is a hard thing to figure. You can have courage based on a dumb idea or a mistake, but you’re not supposed to question the conventional, or the bigger players in the market because they make the rules. Maybe they know best but maybe they don’t. It all depends on who you are, where you come from. I mean, the risk of starting your company, that’s pretty salty stuff. That’s why courage is tricky.

Today, is the 14th of May 2018 when Xeno turns 3.

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How Technology is Transforming the Restaurant Business

‘Technology is replacing manual labour in restaurants’ is a tall statement to make. While one may hear of robots preparing food, digital kiosks taking orders, there are certain aspects of restaurant operations that can only be taken care of by humans.

For most parts, restaurants have always been considered a labour intensive industry. From the preparation of the food to serving it, manual work is always required. Nothing can replace the hospitality provided by the Maitre de or the service given by a cheerful bartender at a restro-bar. While nothing can beat the human aspect of serving the food, one cannot argue the benefits technology brings to the table.

On the face of it, restaurant management seems like a completely manual process, however, technology plays an integral role in streamlining operations that ultimately leads to a better guest experience.

Streamlining Restaurant Operations

Cloud technology has made a lot of strides in the restaurant space over the last few years. Restaurants are now increasingly moving towards solutions that can be integrated with third- party applications as well. The Point of Sale is no longer just the humble billing software; on the contrary it has evolved to become an end-to-end solution that brings multiple other operations such as Online Ordering, Customer Relationship Management, Recipe Management, Base Kitchen Management, etc under one big umbrella.  Right from billing automation and stock & management to real time reporting and analytics, technology has simplified and streamlined the operations.

For instance, integrated with the POS, smart inventory management allows you to set monitor your daily stock consumption based on the orders placed. You can also set re-order levels that send you alerts that a particular item is going out of stock and remind you to order more. This helps in reducing stock wastage and also helps you reduce the scope of internal thefts.

Restaurant management is no longer just about execution of operations, but delving deeper into the analytics to increase profits. It is important to know how the daily sales of your restaurant, what time of the day is most profitable, which item on the menu is performing the best and which is not, even the performance of your restaurant staff.Through real-time reporting and detailed analytics, you can track all these and more right from your mobile.

Measuring of ROI has become a must, which can only be achieved through detailed reporting. The challenges of restaurant management are plenty; however through technology, you can automate and further optimise operations and reduce your overall food and labour costs.

Improving Guest Experience

Quick and efficient operations go a long way in improving the service at your restaurant which can be achieved through restaurant automation, however, personalisation is the key to providing a stellar guest experience. Nowadays, technology is being steadily used to analyse customer preferences.  Imagine a customer walks into your restaurant and places his order. All the staff taking the order has to do is ask their name and number, and the entire order history and behavior is displayed on the POS screen. This data can now be used by your staff to suggest items similar to the ones that they have ordered before. This also provides an upselling opportunity for servers.

A holistic guest experience is incomplete without seeking feedback from the customers. Earlier, the most common method to take customer feedback was through paper based feedback forms. However, this was failing in multiple ways. First, the feedback forms were generic, asking about the overall food and service. While this did give some insight, one could not pinpoint exactly what was not upto the mark.

Second, and most importantly, the whole point of taking feedback from customers is to ensure that they had a good experience, and if not, taking steps to improve it. Even if a customer is not satisfied with the food or service, often the feedback is ignored by the staff, or considered much later, by the time which the customer has already left disgruntled.  Another problem is the data entry of the feedback into the CRM, which is another time consuming and tedious task. Customers’ handwriting can be illegible, or the form can easily be misplaced.

To solve this problem, digital feedback forms came into the picture. The feedback app generates specific feedback forms for each customer based on the particular items they ordered. This also gives intelligence about the performance of the specific items on the menu. In case, a customer gives a poor feedback, you’d be instantly notified thus, allowing you to take corrective actions then and there.

Bringing in More Profit

Once the restaurant is up and running, the biggest concern of the restaurateur is to make it more profitable. Now, there are two ways to do that, reduce costs and increase sales. Through technology and data analytics restaurateurs can now easily segment and target their customer base better. This becomes increasingly useful to generate repeat customers. Now you can segment your entire database based on the average spend of customers, their ordering behavior, preferences, and demography. Take for example, a customer who ordered Italian food from your restaurant once or twice. You can send personalised SMS and emails talking about the new pasta on your menu. Add to that a 10% discount and you can expect him to order again. Personalized marketing can help you achieve repeat sales by upto 22%. Further, it also aids a long term engagement, and helps building a great customer relationship.

Technology has always revolutionized one industry at a time leaving behind a more volatile and dynamic scenario. The same thing is happening with the restaurant industry. While making management and operations easy, it is also increasing competition and customer standards but in the end hopping onto this wagon of change is the best route to go!

This is a guest post submitted by Ferheen Athar. Ferheen is the Marketing & Communications Manager at POSist, a complete restaurant technology platform. She spends most of her time giving gyaan to the restaurant owners through super insightful articles that can be found at The Restaurant Times.

A HIPPO told me “Analytics is not important for a new restaurant”

Everytime I meet an owner of a new restaurant and pitch him our analytics tool, I mostly get a reply along the lines of, “I have just started my restaurant and don’t want to invest time in analytics, I just want to acquire new customers”.

I completely agree that the initial focus should be on acquiring new customers but completely ignoring analytics from day one could be harmful to a business in the long term.

Analytics provides you with the correct facts which help in better decision making. The absence of analytics is nothing but a heady mix of subjective opinion, bias-tinged intuition, and blissful ignorance, often led by the HIPPO (HIghest Paid Person’s Opinion). A HIPPO is most likely to give you its opinion about everything without backing it with data or analytics.

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Your best selling product may not be your best product


Over the years of working on creating a platform for restaurants to improve their customer retention, I have repeatedly heard a common theory which is:

The best selling product is the best product.

If something is sold the maximum every day, every month and every quarter, I will also believe that it is my best product.

The Product Sales Report, which every billing software and CRM provides as a basic feature became the most loved report for any operations guy or a business owner. They started using this report to plan a lot of activities like:

  1. Remove products from the menu (products which are ordered less)
  2. Promote best selling products online and offline.
  3. Manage inventory based on the products sold.

It does help them manage a lot of operations related issues but should the product sales report be the only criteria for deciding which product to promote or which product to be removed from the menu? It was a rhetoric question..the answer is No, the product sales report should not be the only criteria.

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Maximize profits on Zomato & Foodpanda

maximize profit

In today’s day & age, no restaurant can run without online ordering. No restaurant. The biggest brands like Dominos and Mcdonalds have partnered with Zomato, Swiggy, and Foodpanda.

Most delivery restaurants get 50% to 75% of their orders through these channels. But what’s also happening is that discounts + commissions are eating into profit margins. Depending on how you look at it, you’d think that these platforms are good or bad; good for sales, bad for reducing profit margins. I believe a restaurant should look at Zomato & Foodpanda as partners.

At Xeno, we’ve worked with 100s of restaurants, understood their pain points & built a solution to help you, a restaurant owner better understand your online ordering channels, and maximize profit through them.

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Are you spending your marketing budget the right way?

marketing budgetLet me ask you a simple question that I ask my prospective customer at every sales pitch.

‘If you had a budget of Rs.1 lakh each month to increase your revenue through marketing, how would you spend your money?’

What’s your answer? I’m guessing it more or less revolves around the below ideas:

  1. Newspaper ads
  2. Pamphlets and distribution flyers
  3. Offers & discounts through various online channels like Groupon, Zomato etc.

But is that right way to spend your marketing budget? Maybe. Maybe not.

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Generate 100x SMS Marketing ROI

I started Xeno to help businesses increase their revenue from their existing customer, but I never cracked the code till I cracked the power of SMS.

We all underestimate SMS. I did. We think it’s spam. We think it doesn’t work. That’s because we just bulk message our customers and don’t measure the SMS campaigns results at all.

So how did Xeno crack SMS? 

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How to design a loyalty program in 10 mins

A loyalty program is key to a thriving business! And in case you didn’t know this: 88% of businesses with loyalty programs are more profitable than those without (Deloitte survey).

Yet we run away from running a loyalty program for our business. Why?

People get scared with the time and effort required.

Ask most people and they will tell you that structuring a loyalty program is a complex exercise. Something that’ll take hours if not days of brainstorming to design.

We know most business owners don’t have hours, forget days to spare from their hectic day to day schedules. So here is a guide to help you design a loyalty program in just 10 minutes. Yes, that’s all it takes!

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