With many restaurants exploring digital applications and software to prepare for a ‘new normal’, we discuss the inspiration behind Ubamarket and how it aims to help hospitality owners during and post Covid-19.
First, it would be great to hear a bit more about what started the ball rolling with Ubamarket. What was your light bulb moment or catalyst for starting Ubamarket?
Walking round a supermarket in 2012, using a text message as a shopping list and not being able to find anything! I then looked around and realized most people were doing the same thing so thought “Wouldn’t it be cool if my shopping list magically jumped into the right order, guiding me to my items, enabling me to scan as I shop and tapping to pay without going to a till?!”. So that’s what we spent the next 5 years building and perfecting!
Moving on from Ubamarket you have now created a hospitality version, uBARmarket. Can you tell us more about how bar owners can use uBARmarket to encourage patrons back into their bars?
The uBARmarket app is convenient for both bar owners and customers as it acts as the menu, the ordering system, the loyalty scheme and the till. The app learns the preferences and buying habits of customers so bar owners can personalize the experience for their loyal customers like never before and reward them accordingly!
How can uBARmarket prevent the crowding element and will this help with smaller, more intimate venues?
With the menu and till in the customer’s hand on their own device, they can remain at their table or even move around a venue, garden or even a beach without having to come into close proximity with anyone, at any time. They won’t even have to touch a menu or a keypad in the process so it enables social distancing as well as being convenient and easy to use. As you have to register to use the app for the first time, it’s a great automatic tool for bars to track and trace too, in case of emergency.
What inspired you to create Ubamarket and how easy was it to adapt to help the hospitality sector?
I just felt there was a need to remove friction and pinch-points from retail as, although people prefer shopping in stores to online (71% in the UK say they prefer it, from our own audited ‘Retail Trends Report’ research) the in-store till and queuing system remained unchanged for almost 100 years!
Is there a common misconception that technology undermines the dining or drinking out experience?
Yes, because all the best bits and social aspects remain – it just means you don’t have to queue at a crowded bar waiting to be served or wait to catch the eye of a busy waiter! Technology removes all the frustrating bits and enhances all the best bits!
How quickly can a bars be up and running with the Ubamarket app?
As long as their till system is integrated (itself a fairly quick job), then about a week!
What is the future for technology within the hospitality sector and do you think you will be launching any solutions for the hotel and restaurant sector?
We are already being approached by hotels, gyms, sports stadia and theme parks so there’s a huge opportunity for any hospitality venue or visitor attraction which involves retail, food & beverage, crowds and queues!