Unlike many countries around the world, which are in a way ‘fed up’ with startups, Israel strives to be a startup nation. That is, to encourage new and old startup companies, to provide them with the best environment and conditions possible in order for them to keep on flourishing. In Beer-Sheva, the capital of the Negev (Israel’s southern area), we strive to maximize and maintain this encouraging vibe. We at Tech7 try to assist as many startups as we can, connecting them with the right investors and other startuppers. Additionally, we meet with different startups on a weekly basis, aspiring to understand their necessities as a company, as well as their thoughts on the local ecosystem.
This past week, we’ve met Roman Vainshtein and Michael Shnaider from ‘Anomeet’.
Tell us everything we need to know about Anomeet, in a nutshell.
“All in all, Anomeet strives to be the future digital waiter at restaurants. Look, you know what? I think we should start by first talking about a major problem, and then continue to the fun stuff – our solution. As both Michael and I love to go out and eat, one of our favorite ways to hang out, we were shocked to discover that 61% of restaurants will close in a matter of three years. A restaurant is a business of a high risk level, a situation caused by three main factors; personnel matters, operational stability and decision making. As a result of these challenges, restaurant owners and managers are having some problems with the quality of service and the issue of customer’s data.”
What do you mean by “customer’s data”?
“Think about a person – yourself even, okay? – walking into your favorite restaurant, in which you visit regularly, where you have a few favorite dishes you like to order. Every time you come there, you are like a ‘tabula rasa’, with no specific desires for specific food or drink. This problem is even more apparent when thinking about the customer in different restaurants; you need to bear the process of explaining what are your likes and dislikes, your allergies and so on, every time you arrive at a restaurant. Me, for example, the first thing I do when I arrive at a restaurant is order a glass of wheat-beer, and I must ask the same question every time – ‘which wheat-beers do you have?’ So we at Anomeet see this information (the customer’s orders) as valid, one that should be saved somewhere and utilized.”
Well then, what is the solution to all of these problems?
“Our solution is very basic, and even cheap. The customers don’t even have to download an app, they only need to sit back comfortably on their chair at the restaurant table, and scan our Anomeet-stand, or use Bluetooth. In a few seconds they will find the restaurant’s menu fitted to their own previous orders at that restaurant and others. The customer will also be able to see this adjusted menu back home, before going to the restaurant.”
So you are in fact building a profile to each customer?
“Exactly. Not only we seek for direct information, we also infer information. We can even see where in the menu that customer was lingering and understand by that what he/she tend to order. Thus, the customers will feel they are treated more personally and will have a lighter, more comfortable experience at the restaurant.”
Is all of the customer’s data available for restaurant owners\managers?
“Well, we strive to give them only what is relevant for them. As a business, what will assist a restaurant to increase its profit and improve its quality is this precise data, only analyzed accordingly. For example, if a certain dish is scarcely ordered, perhaps it is too expensive or unattractive in its description/photo.”
In past years, food, cuisine, agronomy and other similar terms became a matter of great interest and even passion, discussed and featured in every social media available. This phenomenon calls out to Anomeet’s product, as it puts the individual in the center of the game, the individual’s taste is what matters most. We were interested to know how the guys in Anomeet came up with their idea, and how they overcame their main obstacle – one that we believe became their advantage – their lack of experience in the business world:
“You need to remember that first and foremost, we are people of technology. So in the beginning we looked at the situation only from the user’s point of view, not the restaurant owner’s view. After a while we started to look at the same experience from both perspectives and it is extremely important for us to keep learning about the business perspective.”
What is different today in your approach?
“I ask my wife before every move, instead of every second move” (laughing)
“I’m just kidding. We simply realized that we want our product to be productive, and never to tarry along too much. That is, our way of thinking now is not as startuppers only, but also as entrepreneurs, businessmen.”
Can you elaborate on your background? How did you meet and come up with the idea?
“We both met at our first week of our B.Sc. in Information Systems Engineering, in Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva. So we’ve known each other for many years, and it was clear cooperation will come. From the start, we wanted a product that from day one we will be able to assess, without complications, a simple algorithm. Something that will be worthwhile. We started with writing about a hundred ideas on the board, gradually eliminating different options. Eventually we were left with a few, when our product (today) won a survey we conducted among friends and relatives.”
Can you define your target audience?
“We have an upcoming pilot in a restaurant at Ramat-Hachayal, Tel-Aviv and we are very excited. This restaurant is actually what we are aiming for, not a fast-food restaurant, yet not a fancy gourmet one either. We believe Fast-Food and Fast-Casual to be our inital target audience. Our product fits these restaurants the most, I think, maybe in the future full service restaurants also. Our goal is to reach as many restaurants as we possibly can, but we are aware of our limitations.”
For our last question, what would you say are your product’s advantages, considering the competing products in the market?
“First of all, we are not an app. People are becoming more and more impatient towards app downloading. Secondly, our product is cheap and easy to maintain, all that it requires is cleaning dust off of it, that’s it. Also, as I said, we collect data and use it to improve the restaurants working with it, and, of course, the customer’s experience. Our product is always aiming to be the easiest to use and maintain, and the cheapest to purchase.”