Friday, 1st December, 2017

Talking Tech Interview: App4

• Name: Ian Chambers • Role: CEO • Duration: Since Day Dot • Previous roles: IT Director, Project Manager, Chef & Coffee Drinker

1. How did App4 start?

We were sat having a meal in our local Indian restaurant about 5 years ago and we got talking to the owner about his takeaway orders. He said he was getting quite a lot through this new thing called ‘Just-Eat’, but it was costing him 10% to 15% of the order value for the service, which at the time, was about 30% of his profits.

After a nice meal and a further chat we decided to see if we could put something together that would allow him to provide a similar ordering service to his own customers but for a fixed fee so he wasn’t charged on every order. We created the App4 service, and the rest is history!

2. How did you end up at App4?

As the founding member, I suppose you could say I am App4.  I originally showed the idea and a working demo to the other founding members, my boss and the owner of the company I worked for at the time, and they agreed to back me to build a complete solution and grow the App4 business.

3. What does App4 do?

App4 provide a complete online and App solution, which not only takes care of takeaway and delivery orders, but helps build brand loyalty, provides additional marketing tools and table booking facilities. All of this through their own unique App, available in Google Play, Apple App Stores and online.

4. How many staff members do you employ?

8 at present, but we are expanding currently. However, we don’t need dozens of staff as we automate as much as possible to keep our business compact and help us maintain our fixed prices and work closer with our customers.

5. What is the office atmosphere like?

The office is a busy hive of activity – If we aren’t creating and building solutions for our customers, we are communicating and working as a team to further develop our product and work out the best ways to improve our App.

6. What did you want to be as a child?

I wanted to build houses, I think it came from my love of Lego. I haven’t ventured down that path yet but I get the feeling I will later in life.

7. What industry challenges does App4 address?

App4 addresses the growing concern of restaurant and takeaway owners over the commissions they pay when using certain online and App ordering services, along with the additional costs associated with card payments.

Even though they may be getting orders through these services, the costs of getting this business is increasing, and in return, shrinking the profit margins and cash available for companies to re-invest and grow their business. Getting repeat customers to use in house services will save the industry a huge amount of money.

8. What makes App4 unique?

App4 is unique because we offer a flat subscription service to all our customers – There is no increase in fees as you process more orders, there is 0% commission on all orders, and all our equipment and set up costs are included. The other main area where we differ is on our card payment fees. We connect you direct with the provider, so you get paid 2-3 days after any transaction and we never handle your money. 

Because of our large customer base, we can negotiate better rates for you through our integrated payment providers. Our recommended service provider is also a pay as you go service, so if you don’t use it, you don’t pay anything. If you want to use a different payment supplier, we have a range of services that are also compatible with our solution. Ask yourself how much you are currently paying on card fees. You will be surprised!

9. What was your first day at App4 like?

There were 3 of us at the start and we had no hardwired broadband so had to run off a 3g dongle for the first few days until we got the broadband turned on.  The best bit was the only way to get a decent signal was to hang the dongle out the window so we ended up with the world’s longest USB extension cable and a dongle inside a freezer bag to stop it getting wet.

10. What challenges does the business face day to day?

The whole industry is moving and adapting constantly, meaning restaurant owners are extremely busy. Getting through to these people and taking their valuable time is an extreme challenge, so making sure our message to them is short, concise and of benefit is the most challenging part. Working with QuickBite means that we can get this message out and help owners start saving money. 

11. What has been your best day?

Every day is a great day, but the day we passed a total saving for our customers of £2,500,000.00 was special. Next mile stone is £5,000,000.00 and we are well on our way!

Biffa