First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Steven Simoni: We are all doing well. Like other families around the world, we are working to stay as safe and healthy as possible while adjusting to our new normal.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Bbot Inc.
Steven Simoni: I started my career in the U.S. Navy, where I worked in electrical and systems engineering. I met my Bbot co-founders, Greg Jaworski and Luke Allen, while we were all living in Washington, D.C., and serving in the navy.
After serving in the navy and prior to founding Bbot with Greg and Luke, I worked in sales, product, and engineering at Marketo and Everstring. I also started my own consulting firm to help companies integrate and optimize their tech solutions.
Ultimately, I started Bbot in 2017 with my co-founders. We all ended up moving to the Bay Area after the navy and put our heads together to develop a solution to improve the way people order and pay for food and drinks.
We’ve all had to wait in a long line at a bar or have been to a packed restaurant with servers handling multiple tables. We created Bbot to solve these pain points for hospitality businesses, their staff, and guests. The original concept for Bbot was a solution that helped with the entire process from placing an order to guests actually receiving their food and drinks through overhead robots that moved along the ceiling. After conducting industry research and talking to our customers, we adjusted our approach to focus on our ordering and payments technology, which tends to be where venues need the most support. This led to the Bbot solution that’s available today.
How does Bbot Inc. innovate?
Steven Simoni: Bbot simplifies the traditional ordering and payment methods people are used to experiencing at bars, restaurants, and hotels, for both staff and guests. With Bbot, guests can order and pay for their food and drinks from their smartphones without needing to sign up or download an app, making the ordering and payments experience safer, convenient, and efficient.
For our customers, Bbot provides a wide range of benefits that operators won’t find with other technologies. We created a solution that works for all hospitality companies, including hotels, restaurants, breweries, bars, resorts, food halls, and more with both in-venue and online ordering. Other solutions tend to focus on our flexible configurations for multi-vendor establishments.
Also, Bbot is simple to integrate, configure, customize, and use. Our solutions integrate with most venues’ existing software and solutions, allowing our customers to continue using their current platforms like SevenRooms, Rooam, Seated, Yumpingo, 7shifts, Toast, and other POS systems.
Our simple integration process and flexibility allows for a quick onboarding process so our customers can immediately start using Bbot. This is especially critical today when venues are working to stay open and offer solutions to their guests that keep them safe and socially distant, while still providing a quality dining experience that puts hospitality first.
Finally, our solution provides venues with helpful sales and workflow insights they wouldn’t be able to access through traditional ordering and payment methods. These insights help companies simplify their operations and improve their processes without having to sacrifice customer service.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Steven Simoni: At Bbot, we currently work with over 500 hospitality companies from fine dining restaurants, breweries, and hotels to casual bars, food halls, resorts, and more. The pandemic has led to this number growing practically daily, as hospitality operators worldwide are looking for ways to open back up and serve guests safely.
With Bbot, venues can offer guests and staff a socially distant experience by allowing them to place their orders and pay for meals and drinks through their smartphones without having to get up from their tables or wait in line. Servers can also focus on providing customers with solid experience while staying safe.
We are working tirelessly to help our current customers continue to cope with the pandemic and onboard new customers quickly so they can remain open.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Steven Simoni: Right now, our focus is to help as many venues cope with the limitations of the pandemic and continue to serve their guests and provide an enjoyable customer experience. Our team has been working overtime to help our customers, which sometimes means onboarding new customers in under a week so they can offer their guests contactless ordering and payment options as quickly as possible.
We’ve learned during this time how to prioritize and multitask to make sure we are as helpful as possible. We’ve also worked on listening to the needs of our customers and expand our solution swiftly to include new features and capabilities. This includes our new catering capability, and an exciting new tabs feature that will launch soon.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Bbot Inc in the future?
Steven Simoni: My team and I are currently staying hyper-focused on how we can help our customers adjust to the pandemic as well as continue to better serve their guests long-term. This helps us prioritize, meet our goals, and continue growing.
Long-term, we plan to continue to expand our platform to make sure we are serving as many venues as possible with their ordering and payments process. Additionally, we see ourselves continuing to grow internationally and expand into new territories.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Steven Simoni: Our main competitor is traditional forms of ordering and payments, which haven’t seen much innovation in years. With Bbot, we want to provide operators with a simple solution to contactless orders and payments.
Ultimately, our goal is to offer a simple, brand-focused, and configurable solution that works with many types of hospitality venues and many kinds of dining experiences. By providing a flexible solution that we will continue to innovate and expand, we know we will have staying power in the hospitality industry and grow even more.