Israeli startup MultiDine attempts to change the customer service experience at restaurants by giving restaurant owners a way to get to know their customers better
The restaurant business is one of the riskiest to go into. A restaurant can close down in the blink of an eye for getting just a few bad reviews or if enough unsatisfied customers spread their sentiment across their networks.
The thing is, as much as restaurants pay a special emphasis to customer service to avoid negative reviews, most do not know the first thing about the customers who are frequenting their establishment. Without knowing about customers, their habits and preferences, it’s difficult to achieve a high level of service on a personal level.
Smart tables, multi-media dinners
MultiDine was founded in March of 2012 by Idan Dadon – an HMBA graduate in information systems and engineering with six years of experience in the food and wine industries, and Ehud Ben-Kimon – also a graduate of Information Systems and Engineering with work experience at Logic, Music Concept and Amdocs.
MultiDine’s solution is a hardware/software integration designed to be a part of the very table at restaurants, transforming them into touch screen devices to assist the customers and restaurant staff in the dinning experience. When customers enter the restaurant, they can access the interface located on the table and sync it with the MultiDine application on their smartphone, which will instruct the table interface to show the user the menu in their native language, break it down into specific dish categories and perform a variety of other functions. The app is designed to learn the customer’s preferences over time and recommend personalized options to match their preferences and/or dietary needs – for example, if the customer is a vegetarian, allergic to certain ingredients or particular to a certain vintage of wine etc.
While waiting for the dish to be ready, patrons can view a variety of content from the table and even play games to pass the time. At the end of the meal, customers will be able to share their experience on social networks through the interface or write a review about the restaurant, while being able to search other customer experiences posted from other tables in other restaurants.
Connecting with customers
MultiDine’s vision is to network the dining industry to customers in a deeper way than ever before. Idan Dadon, co-founder and CEO of the company puts it this way: “We enable restaurants to connect effectively with their customers and to align their service and menu with a high degree of personalized relevance to each and every individual user.”
MultiDine launched its beta nine months ago and is planning for the official launch to happen some time in August when the restaurant market will be made up of many young and tech savvy tourists. Since its founding, the company has managed to attract seed funding from Andrey Shirben, an Australian from SYD Ventures. At the moment, the company is in the midst of raising its first VC round.
In MultiDine’s beta version their business model consists of selling their tables to restaurants at cost while asking the business owners to pay a monthly subscription for the service. The company has recently started a partnership with computer giant Dell in hopes of lowering the costs of manufacturing and allowing for greater distribution of the product. At present, the costs of these tables run between $10K to $3K a piece, with the large discrepancy being a function of the specific table design needs of individual restaurants in addition to making each table resistant to heat, water, weight and other stressors.
Dadon elaborated on MultiDine’s vision saying, “We’re a software company that aims to change the way people think about service in restaurants and we do this primarily through information. We attach meaning to action by allowing the restaurant to identify the user and associate the restaurant with the customer in a way that creates real long-term value, while also helping the staff and management excel at their jobs.”