We talked to Kenny Yuen of Qathena on how to build an end-to-end order management platform with integrated third-party solutions to provide a single technology touchpoint and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Kenny Yuen: We are hanging in there just like everybody else. My family is healthy and well, but we’re feeling the “cabin fever” effect! Luckily, our line of work allows us to work from home and still be productive. I wish that we could still travel to Asia to see our extended family members.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Qathena.
Kenny Yuen: I am a first-generation immigrant, and I came to the US when I was a teenager. I speak four different languages and have lived in 5 different countries. I have 25+ years of leading organizations in Business Operations, Business Development, IT, and Customer Services in a high-tech industry; deep experience spearheading strategy and execution across America & APAC markets and managed $1.2B+ in business. And YES, I’m a big food lover!
I joined this company because I could see the incredible potential and opportunity to redefine the consumer experience in the food and beverage industry and beyond. We could change the game, just like how Amazon Market Place did 20 years ago, at elevating the guest experience. My vision is to see our platform being adopted globally by millions of businesses out there.
How does Qathena innovate?
Kenny Yuen: We innovate by creating solutions and platforms that provide a differentiated guest experience (offering wider choices similar to a market place), are easy to implement (in a matter of hours), are affordable ($1/day) for SMB, have multi-language support from the start, and are easy to use (intuitive).
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Kenny Yuen: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many states and cities to restrict indoor dining, severely impacting our customer adoption. Business owners are trying to survive, so few are looking to invest in technology-enabled solutions at the moment, unless necessary. We have had to reduce our expense burn-rate to get us afloat during this difficult time.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Kenny Yuen: We had to change our go-to-market strategy by focusing on solutions that directly benefit restaurant owners to operate their business for pickup or delivery. For example, we promote our no-contact QR-code capability that allows consumers to view the restaurant menu, order food, and pay their bills using their phone. We also market our online ordering solution, called Order Guru, to restaurant and food truck owners to support their customers placing pickup or delivery orders. The lesson learned is that we need to move fast as the situation changes. Otherwise, we might miss the boat.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Qathena in the future?
Kenny Yuen: I deal with stress and anxiety by doing what many people do, watching Netflix with my family. I also do Zumba dancing a few times a week to de-stress. I also like to have virtual happy hours with my friends to check-in with them and share a laugh. When it comes to my team, I remind them that no matter how challenging the situation is, we will come out stronger because our solution will help many SMBs and people recover. When they do, our business will accelerate, and we can all celebrate our hard work and success together.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Kenny Yuen: Our competitors are Grubhub, Doordash, UberEat, Postmates, etc. We intend to take away their market share by providing differentiated solutions that both the business owners and consumers love.
Your final thoughts?
Kenny Yuen: This pandemic is a once-in-a-lifetime experience (I hope), so we should seize this opportunity to disrupt the markets and incumbents. I believe our solution is unique and could provide positive benefits to millions of business owners who are struggling to survive and want affordable solutions to getting their business online.