A million restaurants on menu after Flyt's Uber Eats deal
The CEO of London FinTech Flyt is aiming to get its tech into a million restaurants around the world after signing a major deal with Uber Eats.
Flyt works with major food outlets including Pizza Express, Nando’s and KFC as well as takeaway platform Just Eat to enable customers to split and pay bills on their mobile phones.
It has now partnered with the UK’s fastest growing food delivery app, Uber Eats, to satisfy consumer demand for restaurant delivery services.
Many establishments are facing difficulties as they look to juggle orders placed on the premises and from home – which is where Flyt comes in.
“An order goes straight through to the restaurant’s kitchen instead of to a tablet, where it would have to wait for someone to notice it and key it into the systems,” CEO Tom Weaver told BusinessCloud. “We're making the process more rapid.”
The partnership has launched with more than 100 stores across the UK and Europe, including Papa Johns. More than 1,000 restaurants are expected to sign up by the end of the year.
Under its previous name Flypay, the start-up began life as a standalone app which people would have to download to use in a restaurant.
“Taking next-generation eCommerce-type technologies and deploying them individually in a restaurant is really hard, slow, painful and expensive,” he added in explanation of why restaurants would partner with Flyt, which powers technology in over 3,000 locations across the UK.
However Weaver had a lightbulb moment two years ago when he realised that people were downloading fewer and fewer apps. He says Uber Eats is a rare example of a consumer business which can grow exponentially from a dedicated app and that most brands will prefer to integrate with existing platforms in future.
“The Facebooks and Googles and Amazons of the world are pretty much already one consumer,” he explained. “There are 1.4 billion users of Messenger and 2bn users of Facebook – people who have already got those apps downloaded on their phones.
“The obvious thing to do was to connect those existing apps you already have on your phone with restaurants. We weren't trying to pick the winning channel for a consumer – but to make it possible to choose.”
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Weaver sees Flyt, which has raised £13m in funding to date and is currently undergoing a fifth round, as a sort of operating system for food orders.
“[Using popular platforms to] pay for meals such as takeaways is the future because people have moved on from being forced to have to download a new thing and sign up for it and enter payment credentials every time,” he said.
“The simpler and more friction-free you can make that whole experience, the more transactional growth you're going to see.”
Flyt is deploying a chatbot in the coming weeks which will enable people to pay bills directly through Facebook Messenger.
“How do we drive an ecosystem of new technology that restaurant operators can look at, choose and install with a click?” he asked.
“They will be able to turn on – and off – new services to connect with consumers in ways that they may not even have thought about yet.”
Weaver has worked on technology in the education, retail, leisure and corporate sectors. His experience of helping bricks-and-mortar retailers react to the age of Amazon by reinventing customer experiences gives him insight into the potential of tech in the hospitality industry.
“Tech has potential to enhance the guest experience in a way that the high street didn’t because it was disrupted so quickly by Amazon and eBay,” he said.
“They put most of their money in online rather than looking to improve the physical spaces that they have with technology.
“Hospitality hasn’t had that same legacy and has started to adopt, improve and install new technologies.”
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Flyt has just opened its North American business, which Weaver says will double in size within three months.
“They're slightly further behind in terms of restaurant technologies but have a lot more big restaurants – you only have to win a few deals to be in many, many thousands of locations,” he said.
“In the next five years we want to get to a million locations globally installed with this kind of technology.
“It can take many years: contactless payments were invented by Barclaycard in 2004 and it took a long, long time for them to hit that tipping point for people to start using it.
“Once you hit it, the adoption rises really quickly. The question is: how can you short-circuit it?”
Experiences enabled by Flyt’s platform include Pay at Table, Delivery, Bar Tabs, Order at Table, Order Ahead, Table Management, Digital Voucher Redemption, Food Ratings and other solutions.
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