Finnish startup Culinar is a behind-the-scenes hero for restaurants – providing the platform any restaurateur could love.
Everybody knows the concept of current food delivery apps — you go and build your order from the list of restaurants, and wait for the delivery. But what if you want to order take-away from your favourite local bistro – and the place does not show up on the list of your app?
Culinar is the answer to the riddle. The Tampere-based startup develops a comprehensive digital platform that is targeting directly restaurants. Through Culinar’s platform, which can be embedded onto the restaurant’s website and Facebook, customers can place their orders and the restaurant’s staff will receive the order on their own device or Culinar’s custom tablet.
Unlike local Finnish rivals Wolt or Foodora who attract customers to be their portal’s user, Culinar’s platform is developed to be the restaurant’s complimentary service. “Adding just one line of code into the website, and the restaurant will have their own order menu embedded, which will make the customer feel they are still in the restaurant site, not any other food portal,” explains Reetu Kainulainen, CEO and founder of Culinar.
At this moment, restaurants can sign up for €99 monthly subscription fee, but Culinar is planning to introduce different packages with also an API for partners to benefit from Culinar’s robust back-end systems.
Besides the concept of proving a digital ordering platform for restaurants, Culinar can bring much more power to restaurateur’s hand. For example, restaurants now can receive the data on their consumer behaviour. Culinar’s system keep tracks of data of, for example, at which hour is the busiest for the kitchen, or who are the loyal customer. This can be extremely useful for restaurants segmenting customers, or introducing a promotion campaign.
“We once measured the data from one of our partner restaurants and saw that Friday was the most popular through-out the week. The owner then offered a discount code for 10% for orders picked up on Friday and only placed the ads on Facebook on Monday. The result was a big surprise for us: 400% increase in sale in orders compared to the previous Friday.“
The story of Culinar started two years ago as Reetu got frustrated with finding a new way to order take-away food from restaurants beside calling them. “I thought to myself why online ordering wasn’t the norm in restaurants? Along with some friends from the university, we got the first beta version out. But for some reasons, we started to build a portal like everybody else. So I started to think back about my problem – I wanted to order from the restaurant website,” says Kainulainen.
“Culinar is standing out in the market because we do not compete directly with takeaway portals – the competition is really fierce out there. Ideally, we function alongside with them, providing the restaurants to their own digital channel,” he adds.
Currently, Culinar has been used in different restaurants throughout Finland. The startup has received funding from angel investors and Tekes, and has already found the opportunities elsewhere apart from the home market as they recently get two new partner restaurants from Canada and USA.
The next for Culinar – it’s the world.