Featured Startup Pitch: Bucharest-based GloriaFood wants to shake up online food ordering with a freemium offering for smaller restaurants

By Editor November 11, 2013
Oliver Auerbach, GloriaFood

Oliver Auerbach, GloriaFoodBy Oliver Auerbach, GloriaFood founder and CEO

Elevator Pitch: GloriaFood is a tech startup looking to revamp the online food ordering experience. We are the first company operating in the restaurant and food industry that uses the freemium business model. In other words, we offer a free online ordering system for restaurants.

Product/Service Overview

We strongly believe that food lovers should have an amazing ordering experience for their food delivery or pickup. We also believe that this should be possible without ripping off restaurants by charging high-commission payments on every order.

Troubleshooting: I love the convenience of ordering online for food delivery, and that is why I order all the time. However, not all restaurants have an online ordering option, which means they can lose potential sales. Then again, many of those who have built their own online ordering service don’t necessarily deliver on the aspect of cart checkout usability.

Basically, restaurants don’t have much choice when looking to set up a seamless online ordering system. They either go with one of the big portals, which charge between ten-to-18 percent commission on every order, or they go to a web agency to build a custom module, which turns out to be quite expensive as well.

With this issue in mind, GloriaFood is dedicated to providing a solution that will make life easier and more fun, both for the restaurant owners and for their hungry customers.

Product Description: GloriaFood is creating a free online ordering system for restaurants, which can be used for food delivery or pickup. Customers can order via a widget that is installed on the restaurant’s website or its Facebook page. Then, the restaurant owner receives the order on his smartphone or tablet, being notified by a unique sound alert. This way, we add one more gem to the list of amazing things a smartphone can do—we turn it into an order-receiving machine.

There are many others offering online ordering systems integrated across web, mobile, and social platforms, and for a good price. But our innovation lies in using the freemium business model—we offer similar, if not better, solutions for FREE. Once they understand the added value in that, we believe that restaurant owners will then be willing to try out the premium offers as well.

Founder’s Story

I have used food delivery in more than nine countries from hundreds of restaurants, and the ordering experience was mostly disappointing. I was quite surprised by that, being in the age of technology and online, so I got to do a little bit of research. That is how I learned about the troubles that restaurant owners encounter when they need to develop a new technology to boost their business. This was especially difficult for smaller eateries, family-run restaurants, and so on, who can’t afford to pay big bucks on each order taken through an online ordering portal. I spotted a real business opportunity in helping out this type of restaurant owner. My 15-year work experience at Avira, manufacturer of antivirus software with a user base of 100 million, placed me at the source of learning how to monetize the freemium business model. So, the more I thought about it, the more viable freemium seemed for this particular segment of small restaurant owners.

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

Right now, we’re focused on increasing our exposure in a number of ways, including press outreach, SEO, and SEM. Very soon, we’ll launch our blog and we’re actively looking to partner with service providers (e.g.: POS companies, restaurant portals).

Market Opportunity

There’s enormous potential for growth. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 100,000 restaurants that offer delivery or takeout services. While almost all restaurants have a website, and 82 percent have a Facebook page, the adoption of online ordering is still much below that percentage.

With much higher adoption rates of smartphones, users are also more prone to ordering online. Being the first provider of a free alternative for restaurants, we believe many restaurants for whom it was too expensive in the past will now try online ordering, and others will switch to a more cost-effective solution.

How We Differentiate From the Competition

It’s so easy to do business with GloriaFood! There are no binding contracts and no setup fees. Restaurant owners can install the widget and app themselves through an extremely easy-to-use interface.

We also take great pride in our widget, which we consider a masterpiece in terms of usability.

At the moment, we are targeting small restaurants and eateries that are not part of a chain and seek to improve their online ordering solutions. So, we understand just how important it is for them to step into the online world, increase their sales, and save money in the process. We strongly believe in the appeal of the freemium model for our specific target.

Business Model

The freemium model implies a significantly lower cost of acquisition per restaurant, as it is very easy (and free) to try out our product. You like it and you decide you want to learn some more about GloriaFood, or you dislike it and move on. There are no strings attached.

At the moment, we are dedicating our product to smaller restaurants and family-owned businesses. We believe that these single-unit restaurants are, the same way as consumers, more easily convinced to try out free stuff than partner with another firm that takes 15 percent away from them for each order.

Moreover, from past business experience, we have learned that between one-and-five percent of freemium customers will eventually convert to the premium plan. We plan on adding special features for those restaurants that want to engage with their clients beyond the act of online ordering.

Furthermore, we are seeking opportunities to monetize our end-user base through strategic partnerships.

Current Needs

We’re looking to partner with companies serving the HORECA industry—for example: POS companies as well as restaurant advisory portals.

# # #

GloriaFood logoWebsite: www.gloriafood.com

Founder: Oliver Auerbach

Headquarters: Bucharest, Romania

Investors: Bootstrapped

Year Founded: 2013

Employees: 5

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/3330308