Australian start-up shakes up hospitality supply ordering
Launching at the Foodservices Australia Show in Melbourne in early June, Ooder is a new and innovative supply ordering platform for the hospitality wholesale industry. The Melbourne-based start up is on a mission to change the way cafes and restaurants order supplies, making the process simple, efficient and convenient.
For most cafes, placing orders with their suppliers is a manual and time-consuming process. Orders are placed via phone calls, text messages or by sending faxes and emails. These processes are often inefficient and prone to miscommunication and errors, especially when orders are placed out of normal business hours, and keeping records of orders is a challenging task. On top of this, suppliers and customers often have their own preferred ways of dealing with orders, requiring the other party to adjust to their system.
Ooder is set to change all of this. Being supplier-independent, the company takes the viewpoint of the hospitality customer to optimize supply ordering. The app allows its users to integrate all of their suppliers into one platform and place and manage all of their orders in one place.
‘Ooder creates a range of benefits for users’, says co-founder Christian Mildner. ‘The key advantage is the ability to place and manage all orders with various suppliers in the same, simple way and on the device of their choice. Users always have access to the latest product information of their suppliers and records of all orders are kept automatically.’
‘A typical cafe will have multiple suppliers, and some might have online ordering portals’, explains co-founder Rob de Rozario. ‘But does a cafe owner or Chef really want 10 different logins and passwords, 10 ways of doing the same thing? The answer is simple: No.’
The application is designed for mobile devices but works equally well on laptops and desktops. ‘Almost everyone has a mobile phone in their pocket these days and it’s the most commonly used device for placing orders already, either through calling or texting,’ explains Rob. ‘Using the application on a mobile phone means our users can place and manage their orders anytime, anywhere!’
Every user has a unique login and can access the product information of suppliers his business has accounts with. All data is hosted online and managed in the cloud, which has the advantage that users do not need to download catalogues to their devices and updates are instantly available.
The system is also designed to be flexible and work around teams. ‘We can set up multiple users per cafe’, says Christian. ‘This makes it easy to delegate ordering between staff members while keeping everyone in the loop. Users can also create and modify their own pantry lists and order templates from the supplier catalogues for super fast ordering.’
On the supplier side, Ooder also delivers multiple benefits. ‘Suppliers receive all orders in a clear, digital format. This improves order handling and processing and there is less room for errors’, explains Rob. ‘Suppliers like to be part of our platform because it allows them to offer their customers an online ordering channel as a value-add.’
‘We would like to emphasize that we are not a marketplace and only on-board pre-existing relationships’, adds Christian. ‘Ooder is purely about the simplicity and convenience of placing, managing and receiving orders and automating the process between customers and their suppliers.’
To make things even better, Ooder is a free service. ‘Our business model is based around premium features and services, which are optional and will be introduced at a later stage’, explains Rob. ‘The basic service of placing and receiving orders is free for both, customers and suppliers.’
The pair came up with the idea while exploring wholesale opportunities for their previous start up, an online tea business. Christian explains: ‘We went out to see many cafes and restaurants, and while we discussed tea wholesaling the pain of placing and managing orders with their various suppliers came up time and time again. We saw the potential for providing a solution in this space and after a period of research and fact-finding, we decided to pounce!’
When asked about the origin of the name, Rob explains ‘It’s wordplay on ‘Order’ and it’s short and simple, just like the app!’
The company has been beta testing its service for several months before launching at the Foodservice Australia Show. ‘The product is still very basic in its functionality’, says Christian. ‘We have a long list of features that we would like to add-on but nothing is as valuable as real user feedback. Keeping the product minimalistic early on allows us to co-design new features with our user community, ultimately creating a better and more valuable product.’
‘Ooder is available Australia-wide but is focusing on Victoria during the initial phase’, says Rob. ‘Our aim is to create a national platform and we will be branching out to other states very soon.’
Rob (right) and Christian (left) co-founders of Ooder.