An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Rom Krupp (founder and CEO) of OneDine, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of OneDine – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
I’ve worked in the restaurant industry for over 25 years, and in the last 3-4 I noticed the onset of a big labor shortage and a demand for higher pay that the industry wouldn’t be able to keep up with. There was a need for better unit economics, including figuring out what part of the dining journey could be transitioned to technology without sacrificing the guest experience.
The fact that there was no unified commerce solution for both on-premise and off-premise dining also made it hard for businesses to manage the availability of the menu as well as the distribution of orders.
So ultimately there were higher demands being placed on restaurants, and a smaller labor pool to manage them. An integrated technology solution could address both challenges, and create a customized dining experience as well as profits that restaurateurs have been looking for.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
We started OneDine with server tablets in addition to personal device solutions, so our original hurdles weren’t around consumer adoption but around changing the mindset of operators to realize that good service doesn’t necessarily mean a server does everything. It’s similar to an airline offering better service by providing the ability to check-in from your mobile device. The core challenge is how to educate the industry that there are table touches that require a server, and touches that are better either without a server, or that a server performs tableside without walking away from the guest.
What does the future hold for OneDine?
OneDine is focused on continuing to evolve the product to industry needs, expanding our global reach now that we’re operating in the UK, and bridging the gap between where restaurants are today and where they could be.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Plano?
I started my first company, Marketing Vitals, in Plano, and continue to operate both businesses here. Not only is Plano booming with great restaurants and in some cases corporate offices, but it’s a great place to recruit top technology talent.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Understand your core competency and partner early with people that can do the things you don’t want to do. So many entrepreneurs try to go it alone, and bog themselves down in parts of the business they don’t have passion or value in. Nothing kills momentum like focusing on things that are not moving you forward to your goal, so understanding your role and partnering with people that can bring in complementary skill sets is key.