Skueeze strives to give hospitality businesses a firm grip on costs

Founder believes easy-to-use app could help firms survive coronavirus crisis

Conor Sheridan of Squeeze

Conor Sheridan of Squeeze

 

“The hospitality industry is defined by low margins and low survival rates. The only way to succeed is to have an iron grip on your cost base, which is difficult in such a complex business,” says Conor Sheridan, founder of Skueeze, an app that helps food, beverage and hotel businesses to gain control of their costs and improve profitability. 

“Operators are continuously carrying out postmortems on why last week’s, month’s or quarter’s results were poor,” he adds. “With Skueeze, performance is analysed in real-time and guidance is given on how to improve the situation. The app, which runs on a tablet, uses both internal and external data to help customers get the most out of their business. It deploys best-in-class business logic and AI to help operators make critical business decisions and understands live variable and fixed-cost data sets and presents information back to users with focused, real-time coaching on how to achieve profitability targets.” 

The Skueeze app is aimed at businesses with more than one site and will work with operations of up to 1,000 outlets. It integrates with existing management systems such as purchasing, accounting, point of sale and labour, and also feeds in external data that might influence sales and purchasing decisions such as the weather forecast or major events. 

Controlling costs

Sheridan knows all about controlling food costs. He’s the co-founder of the Mad Egg group of fried-chicken restaurants that opened in Dublin in 2018. Prior to that he worked as a business strategy consultant and in investment. His background is in economics and he has an MSc in Economics and Business Strategy from Imperial College London. Skueeze is based at the NDRC, where Sheridan is participating in its spring accelerator. 

“Skueeze is built for use in busy restaurant settings, not back offices. The product is ‘intelligent’, so the more it’s used, the more it ‘learns’ ”

“The idea for Skueeze came from personal experience of setting up and scaling multiple restaurant units in a short time,” Sheridan says. “I had built a management system that worked very well for us and it struck me that it was universally applicable and scalable, although not in the from it was in, which would have been too complex. So last October we started working on a version that focused on ease of use for the end user, and by this I don’t mean the business owners but the day-to-day team members, who ultimately have the most impact on how a business’s bottom line performs.” 

The hospitality sector already has numerous cost-control solutions but Sheridan says most are not fit for purpose because they don’t fit the pace of the front line. “Skueeze is built for use in busy restaurant settings, not back offices. The product is ‘intelligent’, so the more it’s used, the more it ‘learns’ – it basically takes a lot of variables, plus what’s currently a huge volume of fragmented information, and puts it in one place in an easily digestible form," he says. "It’s pulling in data 24-7 and giving people good-quality information on which to base small decisions that can make a big difference. Consistent best-in-class decision-making leads to consistent best-in-class results." 

Monthly subscription

Skueeze is aimed at restaurants, bars and hotel groups. The app is pitched at the global market. Personal investment has been about €80,000, and a further €80,000 has been secured to scale and develop the company. Revenue will be based on a Saas (software as a service) model, with the monthly subscription tied to the number of outlets using the app. 

Despite the impact of coronavirus, Skueeze is still on schedule for its commercial launch later this year, but with a tweak in focus. “We had been pitching it as a tool to help businesses grow. Now we are pitching it as a tool to help businesses survive this crisis,” Sheridan says.

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