Contxto – Ask any restaurateur across your city and you’ll definitely be able to see the anxiety in their eyes. The industry has definitely been hit hard by the now-infamous novel coronavirus.
remotekitchen, a Mexican foodtech, is enabling restaurant owners to run their businesses using nothing but their smartphone. And I truly mean “running” in every sense of the word. It lets owners not only communicate with customers and receive orders, but promote the restaurant and even process payments.
Starting as a dark kitchen itself, and observing the pressure that the pandemic was exerting on its own business, it quickly pivoted onto a fully digital solution.
Aiming to cut out unpredictable middlemen, remotekitchen offers a Saas fixed-cost solution, so restaurants can scale their orders without worrying about scaling costs.
And it couldn’t have come at a better time. The Latin American restaurant industry is still lagging in terms of technological adoption, implementing truly outdated and manual practices. According to food tech website The Spoon, “roughly 96 percent of independent restaurants in Latin America are not online at all.”
Keeping simplicity in mind, remotekitchen’s solution looks to turn what is already going on into a more unified supply chain, facilitating processes for both owners and customers.
The light version of the SaaS can get restaurants some perks, like basic as a website (remarkably this is already very sophisticated for many restaurants in the region), an “order now” button, a mobile app for managing and receiving orders, and promotion management.
Owners who go for the Plus version can get the payment processor integrated as well as a branding customizable option.
Food-X and restaurants lapping up remotekitchen
It is still early days for the company. They are working with 10 restaurants in Mexico City, but that’s still really the testing phase in order for them to understand potential scalability and usage issues.
This, however, hasn’t stopped 50 other restaurants from signing up to join the platform.
And restaurants aren’t the only eager customer. Renowned foodtech accelerator, Food-X, welcomed the team with open arms. Product-less but ambition-full, the founders were welcomed into the accelerator with nothing but a well-identified market problem.
Next milestone? Raising a seed round.
Pandemic, taxes, and last-mile delivery: A recipe for market failure
The markets are truly amazing economic machines, capable of quickly turning the king of the jungle into food for worms (and vice versa).
Indeed, once-thriving food businesses even with digital platforms are now facing a perfect storm in their corner of the market:
You might have thought the pandemic might have given these tech-savvy restaurants an edge, but 2020 also handed them a decision from the Mexican government to raise income tax and value-added tax to products and services delivered online.
This, coupled with the refusal of services like UberEats’s to reduce their 30 percent commission on the price of delivery, amounts to restaurants getting barely 66 percent of the money paid upfront by the customer.
Things won’t last much longer under that model, so perhaps it’s time to decentralize e-commerce and last-mile delivery. Time for restaurants to consider Saas options versus pay-per-order aggregators?
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