After experiencing delays in ordering and receiving their food in restaurants, these 2011 graduates (one engineering, one business), paired up and created a system that allows people to use their smart devices to enhance the restaurant experience. During their tenure at UT, they won several competitions and are now pursuing the entrepreneurial dream. This Tennessee Archways publications describes a day in their life and what they have learned as they have launched their new business.
Update 4/15/13, courtesy of Pershing Yoakley & Associates:
Joey Natour and Seth Elliott have dedicated a good portion of the last couple of years to DineTouch, their start-up focused on restaurants and their customers. They can now enjoy the results of their hard work with a proprietary application that is available in one restaurant along the Cumberland Avenue strip.
Natour, Co-Founder and Partner in DineTouch, LLC, told teknovation.biz that the company has an officially approved app available for downloading from the “Food and Drink” category at the Apple iTunes Store. It was added to the list of downloads at the end of March. And, equally important, the DineTouch app can now be used by customers dining at the new SunSpot, its launch partner and first commercial client.
The concept behind DineTouch is to be a service to both the restaurants that subscribe to its software app and their customers, providing an efficient and expedited way to order food and drink and pay.
The process is actually very simple in today’s world of smart phones. A customer or group of customers enter a restaurant and are seated. There is a card on the table that has a unique Quick Response (QR) code for the restaurant. The customers use their mobile devices to scan the restaurant’s unique QR code which allows them to immediately access the menu. They can review it electronically, order their food, and ultimately pay their bill if they want to do so.
Natour said that the restaurants benefit by addressing their biggest challenges – table turnover and more revenue per table. In the case of the customer, the ordering process is in the individual’s hands, literally.
“One of the biggest hurdles we have encountered is partnering with POS (point of sales) companies and getting the green light to integrate our solution with their system,” Natour said. “Pretty much all of them said ‘no’ at first.” For Natour and Elliott, it was simply a challenge that fueled, rather than discouraged their passion.
“We since then have integrated with POSitouch (third largest in the country) and Micros system (largest POS company in the country,” he added. Fund raising was also a big challenge as the duo “heard ‘no’ more times than you care to hear.”
Natour had nothing but praise for the SunSpot team, starting with owner Randy Burleson and continuing through Jeff Dickert, Director of Operations for the Aubrey’s Group, and Mark Hawkins, SunSpot General Manager. “They have been our partners, and we are extremely excited about launching DineTouch into one of Knoxville’s most reputable establishments,” he added.