Kelly Harris is looking for printers or print management operations with customers in the restaurant or pub trades to take on an online ordering application.
It is not for the pub’s management team to order marketing materials via a web portal, but a means for the hospitality establishment to sell takeaways in what Harris has dubbed “web to dinner plate”.
He explains that it should help these businesses connect with customers during the enforced lockdown period, with the idea coming when Harris experienced the difficulties firsthand.
““I really fancied a treat, but didn’t want the usual Chinese or Indian takeaway. As my local pub had been pushing their takeaway service on Facebook I decided to give it go,” he says.
“Eventually, after numerous engaged calls I got through, placed my order and gave my credit card details. From that moment onwards the transaction was as you’d expect, but it did leave me wondering how many people didn’t persevere with the calls, that I’d given out my credit card details and that a person was constantly on the phone dealing with orders – all in all, perfect for a Web2DinnerPlate solution.”
His company, New Element Solutions, was formed with another former colleague from Cimpress, intended to develop a cloud application for web to print applications. But the collapse in this type of work during the lockdown stymied the beta testing phase.
The same online ordering concept can be adapted to a new market, with new customers coming online within 48 hours to include uploading menus and prices and to hook up to an online payments system. It has been adopted by a number of local hostelries close to his home. Now he is in talks with a produce supplier to the hospitality trade to market it to his customer base.
Printers who are already selling marketing materials via an online portal could offer this to deepen that relationship. “It works. People are trading on the platform. The challenge is getting it out there,” he says. To date, six pubs are using the application, one taking 600 orders online over the first weekend.
The intention is not to take on the likes of Just Eat, which works with a range of food outlets with a home delivery service, but to offer a tool to independent establishments – the village pub or pub that is the hub of a housing estate, for example.
“At the end of the day, this is about getting business moving again for some pubs – and printers,” he says.