Mobile ordering becoming a big business

Last updated 05:00 28/10/2013
Tarrik Mallet

EATING OPPOSITION: Mobi2Go CEO Tarrik Mallet says the company has just scratched the surface in New Zealand.

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Wellington web and mobile food ordering system Mobi2Go is expanding rapidly.

The website, tablet and smartphone-ordering system that Hell Pizza and other eateries use,processes $2.5 million orders a month up from $1.5m a year ago.

Chief executive Tarrik Mallet said it was in talks with investors to fund expansion into Australia which had quickly become its biggest market since launching there in March. Pita Pit and California Burrito are among its trans-Tasman clients.

Competition across the Tasman was, he said, similar to in New Zealand. There are plenty of portal sites and mobile apps that list eateries, but Mobi2Go is aimed at companies that have invested in their brand and want a dedicated website. Many of its customers are franchises.

It charges a flat monthly subscription rate regardless of the number of orders processed, so Hell Pizza pays the same as the Mt Vic Fish & Chippery.

"We spent a lot of time trying to work out what was the best model because the majority, if not all portal sites, will take a percentage of the sale. With franchises, who are a large number of our clients, that doesn't work, so we charge a monthly fee for as many or few orders a site has. We don't have any term contracts and our customers attrition rate is next to nothing." The product was designed to be self-service so customers can go to the website, sign up and be up and running within a day for a basic site. "Hospitality people are busy, they're not technologists."

Most of its customers are now in Australia, with more in Singapore, Canada, Ireland and China. One just signed up from Costa Rica.

"We've got ourselves in a good position. The next year's focus is all about Australia and overseas markets. Rather than being too scatter-gun, we want to focus in on key markets to get a foothold."

Mallet is in talks with a coffee company in the United Arab Emirates that wants to use the software as a service in both English and Arabic.

"The beauty of being built on a global platform is that it doesn't matter where someone is, they can sign up and use it for their business in Zimbabwe or wherever. That was important for us to break down those barriers."

Mobi2Go recently won the Innovation Award in Hospitality, Food & Beverage category at the NZ Innovators awards, competing against big names Fonterra and Tegal.

It is looking to increase its staff of seven currently to 20 a year , starting with sales staff in Melbourne and Sydney because, Mallet said, it was heavily under-resourced. "At the moment we're bootstrapped, which has worked well because it has given us great discipline, but we feel now we're ready for growth."

Mallet is in talks with outside investors, with funding expected to be secured within three or four months, but he wanted the right party.

"People talk about dumb money - although the money is nice, we're looking for people who have had experience in the area before or can bring skills at adviser or board level that will help."

Mallet said the company had processed about $70m orders since launching two and a half years ago and there was still room for growth in New Zealand.

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- Fairfax Media

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