Satish Varma has a plan to provide restaurants with all the data they need to build tighter relationships with customers.
But one of the biggest challenges in developing that plan was the fact that Varma didn’t know much about how restaurants operate.
“We lacked subject matter expertise,” says Varma, co-founder, CEO and COO at Clorder Inc. “We had a good idea on how to build a brand, scale a business and build the right technology. But we didn’t know how a restaurant operates.”
The solution was fairly simple: Varma and his team set out to visit as many restaurants as they could and spoke to the people who worked in them.
They watched how orders were taken and how time was managed between helping customers in the restaurant and assisting those who were calling on the phone or placing online orders.
A foundation was being put in place that would enable Varma’s plan to revolutionize the way restaurants serve their customers.
“We’ve been building more acumen in the industry and learning a lot about restaurants,” Varma says. “We know how to create value for the customers we are working for. We’re at a stage where we want to grow now.”
That bit of impatience is a key reason why Clorder is now working to develop customized marketing and branding initiatives for more than 150 restaurants.
“I’ve seen others struggle who have high expectations and a very grand vision of what they want to do,” Varma says. “The planning never ends. You just keep planning. A long-term plan is needed, but a near-term actionable plan is essential to getting you off the ground.”
Just go with it
Clorder is derived from the words “cloud” and “order.” The company has a proprietary cloud-based food ordering solution and portfolio of services that is designed to stretch far beyond the act of going to a website and ordering a pizza.
“We put together the software-as-a-service model and a cloud-based application so that we can scale to thousands of businesses in a minute,” Varma says.
“It allows you as the business owner to run your own online platform and draw valuable insights on your customers and stay in touch with them as you build your own marketing strategy.”
In essence, Clorder’s platform becomes part of a restaurant’s website. It collects analytical data about who your customers are, what they order and how often they order it.
“Large corporations are making strategic investments in online and mobile ordering because they can leverage the data that comes out of it to understand their customers, understand the trends and set a road map for how they can market to these customers be it in social media, email marketing or targeted marketing.”
The fact that Varma had a limited knowledge of restaurants was a challenge, but he never viewed it as a roadblock to success.
“You build something, you try it out, you learn from it and you make changes,” Varma says.
“If you look at Apple, they come out with very few products and they work hard to get it right. On the other hand, Samsung, they come out with a whole bunch of products and most of them, at least in their version, are not complete. I was thinking of the Apple approach when we launched. But then we said, ‘No, let’s deploy the minimal product that we can to get some business going.’ And then we started adapting it.”
Focus on your plan
Clorder approaches each client on an individual basis and seeks to provide a complete plan to go beyond satisfying existing customers and welcoming new ones into the mix through marketing programs that promote customer loyalty, repeat business and ease in placing orders.
It’s a different way of doing things, and Varma says that’s a big reason why his company is growing.
“If you are just trying to see what are the best things a competitor or a similar business has and trying to bring that into your business, that will not work,” Varma says. “That is working for your competitor because of something you don’t know.”
Your job is to know the key components to making your idea work and doing what it takes to make it happen.
Clorder is continuing to expand into franchise restaurants and with independent chefs.
“Our core value is not just an online ordering system,” Varma says. “It’s the whole package of services and solutions, and how we integrate and build their marketing, promotion and analytics.” ●