The catering industry has long been an adopter of ICT solutions for operational applications but not for elevating the consumer experience, in part because restaurant owners haven’t been aware of the full extent of the advantages created by innovation and technology. Recognising this opportunity, HKSTP partner company East365 introduced its one-stop catering management system, integrating the functions of ordering, customer flow management, takeaway and payment to help restaurants improve both their customer service and operational capabilities.
Eats365 was founded in 2014 by a returnee from the US, Wilson Lee. His original goal was to develop a cloud-based POS system that can be installed on an iPad to deliver comprehensive functions for restaurants. The company invested tens of millions of Hong Kong dollars to conduct successful R&D over two years.
The solution quickly made its way into the mainstream market of the catering industry as it was easy to use with versatile functions. The solution has since evolved to become a targeted cloud catering management platform offering various modules to support different aspects of restaurant management.
Cloud system keeps customers up to date with latest functions
Wilson says that Eats365 using an iPad offers a lower hardware threshold compared to conventional legacy catering systems. The cloud computing technology of the platform offers constant updates to deliver all the latest functions to a restaurant’s POS. It is a feature available to all Eats365 users, making sure their POS keeps up with the restaurant’s operational needs as its business expands.
Meanwhile, Wilson also noted that the market needed more than improved POS functions. The industry wanted a tool that would help them deal with all forms of challenges and take care of all operational needs. In response, Eats365 took its R&D further and developed a set of modules which restaurants can integrate into their POS system and tailor a solution in accordance with their operational needs.
Multiple modules to extend flexibility
The platform has developed modules for mPOS, PhotoMenu, Queue Ticket Kiosk, eSignage, User App, Kitchen Display System, Expedite Display, Customer Facing Display and Self-service Kiosk. Wilson believes the Eats365 platform equips the industry with an unrivalled level of autonomy and flexibility, keeping the company ahead of its peers.
Meeting various compliance requirements and business needs
Not content with growing its share of just the local market, Eats365 has been eyeing the global market from day one. It now serves more than 500 catering brands in 15 countries and regions. As different locations have their own operational criteria and rules, Eats365’s developers will build systems integrating the unique attributes of each location to let users determine their own settings, as the company makes inroads into each new market. Down the road, Eats365 will continue to expand its local and global presence to support the operation of dining establishments of any size.
Growing with HKSTP’s help
Eats365 is currently a HKSTP incubatee in the Incu-Tech programme. Wilson says that Science Park provides ample software support to help startups grow in the early stages and take their products to market.
As Hong Kong’s catering industry is relatively conservative when it comes to adopting innovation and technology, startups need a relatively longer timeline to progress from proof-of-concept to go-to-market, and garner sustainable market share. Science Park provided the cradle to help Eats365 overcome challenges in its development journey and get to where it is today.
Eats365 plans to continue its focus on meeting the needs and development trends of the catering industry, and develop more multi-functional systems answering those needs. Wilson emphasises that as a startup, the company will continue to attract and develop talent, as the company is aware that it doesn’t have the long track record and business network of its more established counterparts in the sector. With the right technology and sales talent, the company is confident of catching up with market demand and carving a niche for itself in a competitive market.