Money talks, and B2B software start-up Tabit is banking on its ability to slash corporate food bills to pique the interest of potential customers. The prospect of saving thousands on its in-house catering for employees has already landed Tabit LinkedIn's Irish operation as a client and LinkedIn in the United States is due to come on board this autumn.
Tabit cofounder Darragh O’Toole estimates that his company’s service will save LinkedIn an average of €250,000 on its food bills in a year.
“On the corporate side our potential customers are large companies and multinationals offering on-site catering of whatever sort,” he says.
“On the retail side, we are aiming our service at owners of food-to-go outlets whose customers typically pay by card. Finally, at a personal level our service works for individuals who want their food and drinks on demand without queuing.”
The biggest earnings potential is on the corporate side and Tabit works by linking into a client’s in-house catering operation to allow employees order food or coffee from their desk using the Tabit app.
The order is in real time, so they can see how long the wait is and when it is ready for collection. With queuing times of up to 10 minutes for a coffee and 20 minutes for a meal the norm in large organisations at rush hours, O’Toole says Tabit can greatly reduce the time people spend waiting in line, thereby freeing up more time to be productive or to enjoy their break.
According to O’Toole the average cost of providing a meal for staff is between €8 and €12 a day. If an employee is on leave their meal is still produced and will most likely end up as waste. Tabit integrates its service with an organisation’s HR department to both verify employees and ensure that meals are not prepared for those on annual leave.
“In large companies, you could have maybe 30 or 40 people on holidays at the same time. Multiplied by one or two weeks, that’s a lot of money and a lot of potential waste,” O’Toole says.
“With companies becoming increasingly concerned about their carbon footprint and managing their waste production, Tabit can also be used to develop an effective environmental management system to enable companies get or maintain their ISO14001 environmental waste accreditation.”
Tabit was established eight months ago and O'Toole's cofounders are Adam Robins and Niall Deasy. O'Toole has a background in software sales, Robins is a servers' expert and Deasy's speciality is UX and UI design. The partners met while working for automation software company Automsoft.
Corporate catering companies live or die based on employee feedback and we can give them very accurate data about what people are choosing to eat and when
Tabit’s business model is software as a service and it charges corporate clients per head. The business is already making money.
Tabit’s start-up costs have been in the order of €40,000 which have been self-funded and the company recently participated in the New Frontiers programme at DIT Hothouse. Tabit is now in the process of raising up to €1.2 million to accelerate its development.
The Tabit system generates a great deal of data about employees’ food preferences and consumption patterns and O’Toole says this is invaluable for workplace managers and catering companies alike.
“Corporate catering companies live or die based on employee feedback and we can give them very accurate data about what people are choosing to eat and when. If people always eat out on a Tuesday because they don’t like the menu or if a particular meal is not being ordered, it shows up very quickly and the food offering can be tweaked.”
On the retail side Tabit has recently signed up two Dublin-based retail partners, KC Peaches and Tang, to pilot its system. Those with the Tabit app can avoid queuing by pre-ordering their food at these outlets. Tabit makes its money on this application by taking a cut on sales.