Vick de Froz Jorge Manuel, founder of Davinci Kitchen tells us about online restaurants and how the robotic chef kiosk tackles various problems at once.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Vick de Froz Jorge Manuel: So far, so good, I would say, thanks for asking! We are healthy, and that’s probably all we can ask for at the moment.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Davinci Kitchen.
Vick de Froz Jorge Manuel: I’ve always been the entrepreneurial type. I’ve founded and accompanied two other companies in the past and am quite surprised myself by how diverse the projects were. I like solving problems, and as time passed, the problems I wanted to solve got broader and broader. I’ve always been impressed by the idea of highly personalized, fast, and yet healthy food while always maintaining the same standards of quality and taste. This can only be achieved through automation. Combine that with the immense shortage of skilled labor in catering which we face in Germany nowadays, and then you will end up directly thinking about a robotic solution. And that’s what my Co-founders and I did. With our robotic chef, we have created a solution that manages to kill several birds with one stone.
How does Davinci Kitchen innovate?
Vick de Froz Jorge Manuel: With our product, the robotic chef kiosk, we tackle various problems at once. The robot can fill the lack of workforce in catering businesses. With our design, it can do the job of 2 chefs at much lower costs. It won’t catch flu and doesn’t even have to sleep, for that matter. That way, you can have the kiosk operating pretty much 24/7. The only human job required for the operation regards cleaning the kiosk and refilling the ingredients. The rest is done by the robot. During the development, we worked closely together with well-known chefs of the industry to gather the freshest ingredients, create the best recipes and the most efficient workflow. That way, we can guarantee a high quality of taste with near-perfect repeatability. Thus we found a way to scale the chef.
We focussed our design heavily on flexibility and created a modular and space-efficient product that even can be adapted for different cuisines. Right now, we are finalizing the pasta kiosk, but a later version will also be able to serve soups, waffles, bowls, and even currywurst.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Vick de Froz Jorge Manuel: It has been a tough time for the whole industry. Since we are still developing the final product, we had to deal with some delays in ordering and delivery of needed parts for our construction. Apart from that most of our team can work from home, which has been working out nicely for us. The good thing is that our concept, however, isn’t dependent on human contact and therefore offers great business opportunities, even in times like these.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Vick de Froz Jorge Manuel: Not really. Our team is highly competent and already pretty streamlined. Since we are still in the development phase, it’s always important to have an eye on the money. Sure, there are moments where you would like to grow the team to speed things up, but financing is in the way. In such moments we needed to find more efficient ways to improve our work routine. But that’s something most startups face, I think, regardless of the pandemic. It helped us to stay agile and on edge.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Vick de Froz Jorge Manuel: Since we don’t generate any revenue yet, we don’t use any specific CRM system.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Vick de Froz Jorge Manuel: Indeed. We were granted some governmental covid-support funding, which helped us stay afloat during times, where our investors had to tighten up. We are now looking forward to opening our flagship store in Leipzig in Q1 of 2022.
Your final thoughts?
Vick de Froz Jorge Manuel: It’s been a tough year, but I’m very proud of my team for the progress we made. We are working on a lot of details now, which shows that we are very close to the last step before hitting the market, and that makes us pretty excited for the future. Feel free to take a look at our crowdfunding campaign with Seedmatch. If you want to be part of revolutionizing the catering business and want to take your share, that’s your chance to become part of us. Thanks for having me!