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Surviving the Pandemic in the Hospitality Industry

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Michael Popchuk ORTY

We talked to Michael Popchuk of ORTY about the restaurant management software, and he had the following to say:-

First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times? 

Michael Popchuk: Thank you, it’s OK for the time being. Fortunately, none of my close family was affected by the disease. Indeed, hoping for the soonest resolution of the pandemic. 

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded ORTY.

Michael Popchuk: I started my career in 2007, founding a digital agency back then. My way was full of startups, employment, and corporate consulting, until 2018, together with two of my partners in Singapore, we started working together on the project, which came to be the first concept of ORTY.

How does ORTY innovate? 

Michael Popchuk: We built a restaurant management system, which is definitely a pretty hot market already. So we need to be far ahead of the competition to be able to acquire customers at a startup pace. 

First and foremost, it comes from our ability to quickly innovate and implement our vision. We believe that in the coming years, the majority of fast-casual and quick-service restaurants will primarily convert into digital ordering, and this is an inevitable process. COVID-19 and the associated restrictions on the dine-in and full-service locations only reinforced the trend. So we are leading the pack in this regard and have the most advanced tools on the market.

How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?

Michael Popchuk: Frankly speaking, the pandemic has stimulated the trends we are talking about from 2018. In 2019 the restaurant industry was clearly divided – SMEs never thought of a need to digitize, and Mcdonald’s spent more than $1bn on installing self-service kiosks worldwide. In 2021 every SME in HORECA understands that convenience is the king and digital ordering option is more a requirement rather than a feature.

Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?

Michael Popchuk: We definitely had and had them a lot. Although the pandemic has clearly accelerated the trend for digitalization in the restaurant industry, the industry had a very hard time. A lot of restaurants went bankrupt, and a lot of people were thrown on the street. We clearly understood that we want to contribute our share in supporting the industry, and even though we were cash-flow negative ourselves, we released our customers from any obligations during the first lockdowns. It was a tough time both for our business and every member of our team, but the decision was supported by all the team and clearly was the way to go. I am not a big fan of socialism but strongly believe that any business has to share some social responsibility and contribute to the wellbeing of the industry. And I am very much thankful for our team to stand together in this position.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

Michael Popchuk: Our competitors are classical restaurant management software that are a lot, but we are the only ones that are so focused on the digital aspect of the restaurant. 

Although ORTY restaurant management software provides all classical way for placing the orders – at the counter or mobile waiters at the table, we offer any possible means of digital ordering: self-service kiosk, mobile app, QR codes at the table, website, WhatsApp, or iMessage chat-bots. And all these tools are available immediately after the registration. 

All customers and their purchase history will appear inside ORTY CRM, and restaurants can reach out by setting up automatic personalized promotions. Results from existing customers demonstrate that around 10% of all dine-in and 60% of delivery orders shift to self-service within 2-3 weeks after launch. Restaurants can increase table turnover by 20% during peak hours without hiring more waiters. 

That is an incredible result, and we plan to develop it even further to make ordering as natural and convenient as browsing Instagram for any small and medium quick service or fast-casual restaurant, available out of the box. This is our vision, and we have the product and the team to drive this trend.

Your final thoughts?

Michael Popchuk: Coronavirus pandemic has brought a lot of despair to the restaurant and other leisure-related industries in 2020. Lockdowns led to massive shutdowns. But on the bright side – it opened the way for a fresh view and a chance to rebuild an aged industry for something modern and fit for the time. 

No more queues! No more wasted time during the lunch break! No more inefficiency and “It has always been like this”! Dream big – this is the chance for the big changes.

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