Meet Immerly: The Restaurant Management Platform that Puts Restaurant Owners Back in Control
Today it is our pleasure to unveil the 3rd startup (out of 10 selected so far) from the StartupYard Remote Lab program. Immerly is a modern, simple and mobile-friendly way to manage a restaurant. Immerly allows restaurants owners to control their business from a single entry point. We sat down with Kirill Shamanin, the CEO and co-founder of Immerly to talk more about what they do and their plans for the future.
Hi Kirill, tell us a bit about your personal journey towards founding Immerly. How did you get here?
I went to a restaurant one day to get a quick lunch with my friend who is now a co-founder of Immerly. But as it usually happens, instead of a 15 minutes lunch, it ended up being an hour and half drag and it was not because we were eating slowly! The whole experience was flawed at so many levels (getting the menu on the table, ordering, waiting for the food, waiting for the waiter, waiting for the bill, waiting to pay, paying).
It was so annoying that we started questioning ourselves, why is there no automation? Why is there no quick way to see the menu, order the food, pay the bill and say Au Revoir.
We initially said, let’s do something about it and we came up with an idea to allow self-service using a mobile device. Little did we know it was the start of a much bigger exciting journey.
We started knocking on restaurant doors, validating the idea and looking at their tech stack.
The first thing we noticed was a very high number of different tech vendors restaurants have to use. There are thousands of B2B solutions to keep restaurants running, different POS, back-office, warehouse and BI solutions while there are thousands of B2C solutions such as online reservations, delivery, menus, table payments etc.
Something else was also shocking to us, considering our background in software development building modern user-friendly cloud applications. Most of the restaurants looked like they were stuck in the 90s. They have some PCs in a closet, inaccessible remotely. Those PCs were representing a server and a management software at the same time. They also have a point of sale (POS) software to run day-to-day operations (sending orders to the kitchen, printing bills, etc.), which was running on a PC as well, looking like it came straight from Windows 95 times.
Now combine many different tech vendors and outdated software you will get an overwhelmed owner who uses many different solutions at once, which do not talk to each other. This was a breaking point for us, we understood that guest journey automation is just a small problem of the whole big issue running a restaurant.
This is why we decided to build a modern, highly intuitive restaurant management system, whose goal is to provide a complete ecosystem of all the important restaurant modules working seamlessly with each other.
Our biggest challenge from now on was to give back control to restaurant owners.
Who is the rest of the team? How did you meet and why are you a good match for this project?
Immerly has 3 co-founders. Dmitrii Tkachenko, Kseniia Simakhina and me. We all met at different times and places, but we all share the same instinct which drives us – to build a great product. In early days we were a great fit, because we were able to put our heads down and deliver an awesome product. Today I realize that all of us have become experts on restaurant business, since we were doing tens of interviews, staying at restaurants, talking to employees, warehouse managers, general managers, all of this was done together. Of course now roles are quite different compared to the first year, but I personally think it’s natural for the team to grow and start compensating on weak spots.
Who is Immerly for and what problem are you solving?
Immerly is for restaurants who are serious about what they do. Medium-sized, chains or even franchises.
Immerly provides different modules to run the restaurant, starting with POS to run day-to-day operations, moving on to the cloud back-office solution, which provides complete and actionable data about the restaurant business and moving on to other important business modules, like warehouse, food-cost, BI analytics, guests etc.
The importance of it is that instead of juggling multiple not integrated and not user-friendly solutions at once, Immerly provides a single hub to control the whole business in a modern, simple and mobile-friendly way.
You are not the first startup to try solving this problem and there are already available proven solutions. Why should a restaurant owner look at Immerly? What are you trying to accomplish with Immerly that you think no other platform has been able or willing to do?
Let me give you some statistical data from the Restaurant Success Report from Toast:
52% of restaurant professionals named high operating and food costs a top challenge
35% of restaurant professionals also named training and retaining staff as a big challenge.
Restaurants use an average of 3 technology vendors to manage only back-office operations.
To solve the high costs you have to know what drives them. Most of the systems are neither providing you this data out of the box, nor give you a function to actually track it.
Complex training is always connected with the technologies you use today. We are not only talking about the waiters and the POS training. We are talking about general management, warehouse management solutions. Restaurant industry was hit hard last year, a lot of employees had to go. Now efficiency, cost and speed are very important when a restaurant is onboarding new employees.
Now last but not least, just to manage back-office operations requires 3 different tech vendors. We could also bravely add 2-3 front-office (guest centered) vendors to that stack. Now imagine there is no seamless integration between these tools. All of that has a negative impact on previous challenges, as many vendors increase the complexity and time to learn, in the mean increasing the cost for the business.
Immerly solves these challenges by providing restaurants with critical business data on the palm of their hands, a highly intuitive and modern system, which requires only 15 minutes to onboard new staff and eliminates the need for additional vendors, allowing restaurants owners to control their business from a single entry point.
So if you are a restaurant owner in the hospitality industry, what do you need to get started with Immerly?
You can start right away! Just go to Immerly.com
All you need is a browser to control your business and almost any device (e.g. Android/iOS tablet or notebook) to run our POS software in your restaurant. Immerly is also able to keep your current POS hardware, since our solution is multi-platform, thus reducing the cost of change for already existing business.
What have been your team’s biggest personal or professional challenges in making this project a reality?
I think the biggest challenge was to mix full-time employment with what we do. In the first year we were working weekends and evenings to make this real and it was a bit overwhelming. It was not about just writing the code, we had to validate our ideas, learn market problems, demo the product etc. But I am glad we did it and I am happy to see we are gaining our traction very quickly!
What do you hope that Immerly will be able to do for its users in the next few years that they can’t do now?
Oh, a lot of stuff! We have a ton of ideas, for example we are really looking towards AI based solutions to predict the key drivers of the business and we have a very ambitious moonshot, which will fully automate the warehouse operations for restaurants. I am so looking forward to it!
Talk a bit about your experience with StartupYard. What were the surprises, challenges, highs and lows?
It is awesome! The biggest surprise was that to meet 40+ mentors in a short period of time is not as easy as I thought, however, it was extremely helpful. One thing StartupYard helped me understand was that network is a very important part of building a successful business.
Before StartupYard, we were always more like a lone pack of wolves, thinking we can fight our way through all the obstacles, but now we have a lot of awesome connections to people with very bright minds and amazing ideas which helped us a lot during the program.