First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
David Marrero: We are doing our best to figure out this new world we all find ourselves in. My wife has done a great job adjusting to working from home while also having a 2-year-old bouncing around. Likewise, our daughter has quickly adjusted to a non-traditional senior year in high school. It is definitely difficult not spending time with our friends as we are used to. Nonetheless, we have always been a family that enjoys spending time outdoors, so that helps us.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Ordyx.
David Marrero: I started working for Logica (now CGI) right after college. They immediately assigned me to work at IBM on an OS/2 project where I spent a couple of great years learning the ins and outs of a major operating system. During my tenure at Logica, I met Remon, who years later became my business partner. We branched out on our own and started Ordyx in order to provide point of sale (POS) technology to restaurants of all sizes. The innovative idea we had was very simple, to use the Internet as the backbone for a subscription-based POS. The key aspects of our idea are now commonly referred to as “Cloud-Based” and “Software as a Service” (SaaS), thus, making Ordyx the first cloud-based SaaS POS system. That idea allowed us to make POS affordable to restaurants that, up to that point, could not dream about having POS technology at their fingertips.
How does Ordyx innovate?
David Marrero: Our continuous goal is to provide technologies to the hospitality industry that enables users to run their businesses in the most efficient ways possible. As a result of the Logica background, Ordyx focuses on bringing the ideas of consulting to the point of sale industry. Everything starts with the simple notation that in order to provide a solution, you first need to understand the problem. For us, that relates directly to listening. The best innovators tend to be the best listeners because then they know what their audience truly wants. We listen to our dealers, customers, and staff in order to develop easy to use solutions that solve real challenges. We strive to be the best in terms of producing essential hospitality software products and ensuring that customer satisfaction is at a steady high. Our in-house Development and Support teams make all of this possible.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
David Marrero: We thoroughly understand that our success is tied directly to our dealers and customers’ success. As everybody is aware, the hospitality industry has been hit very hard by the pandemic and still faces a high uncertainty level. Due to the nature of the pandemic, restrictions have heavily impacted the in-person, high-contact restaurants and bars we serve. Many have needed to close or limit their sales to online ordering and takeout for several months. In order to alleviate some of this burden from our customers, we quickly reminded them how to adjust the level of POS service needed in the new normal (i.e., fewer terminals). We even took it further by temporarily waiving fees to certain features that could help our customers in a touchless world (i.e., Online Ordering). We have always believed in maintaining fair terms and pricing structures, and the pandemic has made that more important than ever. The flexible terms we provide, combined with touchless solutions such as Online Ordering, as well as support for Apple Pay and Google Wallet, have greatly helped our customers.
The pandemic is still evolving; as a result, we are evaluating priorities at shorter intervals than what we did in the past. We are monitoring the news daily and adjusting our priorities as needed. Fortunately, Ordyx has always maintained an agile development culture. It was a culture that helped us shift our focus to creating technologies that better suit our customers in today’s reality. To give you an example, we are in the final stages of deploying a new solution that allows restaurant guests to browse a menu as well as pay via their smartphones by simply scanning a QR code at the table.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
David Marrero: I have had my fair share of stress dealing with the unknown through this pandemic. The reality is that the world changed quickly in unexpected ways. As a result, we made and continue making frequent adjustments. Daily temperature checks for all in-office employees, more work from home flexibility, better communication with our main stakeholders (staff, customers, and dealers), and so much more has changed. However, I like to think that this has served as a reminder of what lies in our core, what is important, and who we are. In simple terms, we need to listen, innovate, stay very agile, and, more importantly, we need to have a mutually beneficial relationship with our customers, dealers, and staff.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Ordyx in the future?
David Marrero: I try to do my best in setting clear goals and expectations for everybody, myself included. In order to do so, I maintain a balance between monitoring the news (pandemic, the economy, and our industry) and reprioritizing projects. It becomes challenging on some days. However, I believe that the balance between separating my work and personal lives is key to managing stress and anxiety to continue making the best decisions for the organization and stakeholders.
In terms of our future, we have a number of new software solutions (i.e., touchless menus, pay at the table, self-ordering kiosk) scheduled to be deployed before the end of this year, which we believe will greatly help our customers. In addition to that, we are starting to experiment with some AI-based ideas we believe could change the way restaurants are managed. The combination of those new solutions, our resilience as a company, and the new Dealer program we just introduced will take us into a new and exciting chapter.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
David Marrero: We compete with companies like Oracle Micros, Clover, Aloha NCR, and Toast. However, our technology and business model makes us very unique. To give you a couple of examples: we are credit card processor agnostic, which means that our customers and dealers can choose to work with whatever credit card company they prefer in order for them to get the best credit card processing fees possible. Ordyx can run in Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, which means that customers can use practically any equipment they want, preferably something they already have. We have never forced a customer into a contract, which means that they stay with us because of the high quality of software and service provided.
In order to maintain our success, we need to continue being us by actively listening, being agile, and providing our customers with plenty of options.
Your final thoughts?
David Marrero: Difficult times bring out the real us. It reminds us of who we are. I believe that this idea is the same in our professional as well as personal lives. During the pandemic, we have been faced and continue to be faced with many challenges. The way we continue to step up has made us a more resilient company. I have no doubt we will be tested in different ways in the future. As long as we continue reminding ourselves of who we are and what we are working towards, we will have a great chance of success in the future, whatever that future looks like.
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