OrderPoint aims to cut waste bills for hospitality industry

Dublin firm’s software lets managers keep in touch with waiters and the kitchen

Like many young people before him, Steffan Jolley worked in the hospitality sector to earn money while at college. As things turned out, it was time well spent. Jolley has used his insider knowledge to set up OrderPoint: a hardware and SaaS system that can help reduce costs in the hospitality sector while improving turnover and staff performance.

Following his graduation from DIT in creative and cultural industries, Jolley went to the United States on a J-1 visa. This took him to San Francisco where he worked as an assistant bar manager for a beverage catering company in the Bay area.

As his experience of the hospitality industry grew, Jolley began to see a pattern emerging on both sides of the Atlantic that pointed to major shortcomings in how food and beverage services are provided.

In particular, he noticed that bad communication and poor processes were leading to mistakes, inefficient work practices and missed opportunities by waiting staff to upsell.

"I came back to Ireland with the view that there was room for major improvement and this led to what has now become OrderPoint," Jolley says.

OrderPoint is based on mobile handheld technology (a tablet at present) and it combines an easy to use point of sale system with two-way communication that allows restaurant managers to keep in touch with their waiters and the kitchen. The system prototype has been built and is currently being piloted.

“In addition to simplifying the order process it also gives managers information about staff performance and menus,” Jolley says.

Operational efficiency

OrderPoint will initially be targeted at food and beverage services, but Jolley says it can be applied to other areas such as housekeeping. “No product on the market currently provides a full suite of systems that improve a hotel’s complete operational efficiency. We firmly believe that what gets measured gets done and this is how our system stands out,” Jolley says.

When Jolley got back from the US he got a job as a front office manager at the Powerscourt Hotel. “This added to my knowledge about how big hotels are run and I really began to see where a system like ours could fit in,” he says.

“I had not studied business at school and to fill this gap I enlisted on a master’s programme in business and entrepreneurship at DIT with a view to getting an understanding of what was involved in creating a new enterprise.”

Jolley completed his master's in 2016 and has since participated in both phases of Enterprise Ireland's New Frontiers programme at the Linc at Blanchardstown IT and the Institute of Technology in Tallaght respectively.

While working on the research for OrderPoint it was the level of waste that really stuck out for Jolley. “Between 4-10 per cent of food ordered never reaches a guest’s table and food waste in hotel restaurants runs into hundreds of thousands of euro a year.

Human error

“One of the biggest contributing factors is human error due to incorrect entries, incorrect orders or things being ordered twice – usually due to poor communication between the kitchen and the restaurant as they are often not even on the same floor. It costs roughly €50 per mistake by the time food is replaced and the customer is compensated so the potential for savings with a system like ours is significant,” he says.

OrderPoint is barely out of the starting blocks having only been set up in February of this year, but Jolley and his cofounders, Daniel Morgan and Jack O'Farrell, expect to launch their service in Ireland and the UK in Q1 2018 and are pinning their immediate hopes on being selected as a high potential start-up by Enterprise Ireland.

To date, they have used a loan of €25,000 to get their idea off the ground and are now keen to bring an angel investor on board.

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