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Partner spotlight: an interview with iiko

We’ve got some great plans for our partner content in 2021; we’re therefore kicking off Spring with a spotlight on our partner iiko; we recently sat down (virtually) with its Managing Director in the UK, Simon Dadswell, to pose some probing questions.  

What differentiates iiko?  

iiko is a next-gen solution designed specifically for the unique needs of food and beverage businesses. We exist to help those companies thrive and scale through cutting-edge automation and actionable insights. Our, unified system includes innovations such as: all-in-one FoH and BoH (meaning it’s never out of sync), real-time inventory, AI-driven sales forecasting, automated and suggested purchasing and actionable real-time insights.    

What’s the most important trend or trends impacting the market at the moment?  

You can’t answer this question without mentioning COVID-19; so many of the trends coming out of the food and beverage industry at the moment are directly related to its existence. There’s been a sharp rise in online ordering and delivery, dark kitchens, and launches of new business models and concepts – all because of the pandemic.   

Then, there are the organisational changes that have been required to manage the differences brought about by trends. We foresee a raft of fresh acquisitions as some companies struggle to survive alone and changes in management teams in order to tackle emerging strategies and streamlining of processes etc. 

There is also a focus on digital transformation and adoption of Next-Gen tech to help streamline efficiencies and reduce costs to support greater margin control.  

How did iiko respond to COVID-19?  

Our response evolved with the situation within the market. When the first wave hit and lockdowns were announced, we created new editions for smarter online food ordering including: digital ordering by partnering with QikServe, integrating directly with Deliveroo and UberEats, and developing a new Web API – to enable customers and partners to easily inject web applications, business solutions, mobile applications etc. and customise their solution needs, removing any technical barriers and costly delays.   

We also offered additional help for customers by offering free solution training sessions and creating an industry WhatsApp group “Restaurants United” to help the sharing of ideas. We also rapidly developed a number of free software updates so that customers could easily handle each new government announcement, for example the VAT changes and introduction of Track and Trace and Eat Out to Help Out schemes.   

We also posted our support and response for each lockdown wave to our website at the time for optimal clarity.   

Wave 1:  

Wave 2:  

If you have one piece of advice for hospitality businesses looking to grow/recover in 2021, what would it be?                                                                                                                                      

Before the pandemic struck, some long-standing challenges within the market, such as margin control, wastage, and performance management were tolerated because margins were good enough and the focus of brands was primarily on customer service. Moving forwards, once operators have their online presence sorted and they have steadied the ship they will need to double down and examine their operational blind spots and issues they’ve been tolerating – and ultimately their legacy technology suites. We are already seeing new digital transformation projects emerge. Successful operators will be those that embrace Next-Gen platforms that enable greater agility and allow for a rapid response to change, as well as giving greater control over costs.  

Is there a key to a successful technology partnership?  

We work with over 300 resellers and dozens of strategic tech partners globally. Communication and trust are incredibly important for any successful partnership. Like any relationship, the more time and effort that goes into it, the more fruitful it becomes. A partnership that encourages innovation – where both companies are strategically heading in the same direction, with the same customer-centric mindset and are tackling the same challenges e.g. how to positively impact operators bottom-line is very powerful. 

You work with thousands of food and beverage businesses, how do you ensure great customer service for all of them?  

Great customer service needs to be ingrained in the way you think about customers and do business – it is about the mindset, processes involved, and most important, people.   

We use the latest technology to support quick responses to relevant challenges; we know that food and beverage businesses cannot be expected to wait at the end of a phoneline. We believe it is about the fix times not just response times.   

The best way to explain our thinking is to read our blog and review some of the stats that we delivered during the first wave of COVID when vendors were being pressurised by customers coming out of lockdown whilst needing to also adjust to government schemes:

To sum it up, for Y2020 our average response time was 3.21 mins and average fix time was 29.4 mins – not only are these performance levels best-in-class for the UK POS industry by a country mile, but arguable for any SaaS tech sector worldwide. Also, we rapidly sprinted to 100 TrustPilot customer reviews milestone with the highest industry rating of Excellent 4.7.

What makes iiko a provider that food businesses can trust?  

You have to earn trust. We do that by providing Next-Gen tech and quality support. You get everything you need in one place, so you can start quickly and accelerate successfully as your business grows. iiko PAYG, cloud-based subscription model also means there are no hefty up-front fees or unpredictable costs. In other words, we don’t lock customers in – we earn their renewal. 

Next-Gen technology has transformed other sectors and were here to prove it can do the same for hospitality. Over 30,000 vendors across 30 countries globally already rely on iiko, including some of the largest brand names in the industry: PapaJohns, PizzaHut, Hesburger, Dunkin Donuts, and Cinnabon etc.  

Any technology operators introduce must be proven beyond measure and capable of delivering tangible bottom-line results. Not next year, but immediately. 

What should we expect to see from iiko in the coming months?  

In a nutshell, growth and expansion. We have just opened a new office in Italy and hiring across Europe as well as developing our channel offering in Germany, France, Belgium and beyond, and building our brand here in the UK&I, UAE and Russia. By the end of this year, we hope to have pushed out the message that iiko is a technology for the next generation of food and beverage businesses – a trusted vendor that is known for helping operators, both large and small, to survive and thrive.  

Would you like to speak to iiko or partner with QikServe? Contact us now.

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