How John Created a Restaurant Platform in 30 Days

Yesterday a close friend connected me with a new founder. This founder, John, has a background in logistics and wants to apply that knowledge to help businesses in his underserved community. He talked to a few restaurateurs about their specific challenges and figured he could help.

I spent about thirty minutes with John and learned a ton about the opportunity he sees and about him as an entrepreneur. John noticed a few things about restaurateurs in his community. One, many don’t have any online presence. No website. No anything. There are a variety of reasons for this, but lack of familiarity with technology is part of it. Two, they don’t have the ability to accept online orders for pickup. Customers stand in long lines or are stuck on hold when they call in orders. Three, most of these restaurants are looking for a delivery option that better meets their customers’ needs. Four, the pandemic has stoked their desire to find solutions to one, two and three. They need these solutions quickly so they can survive in this new world. But they don’t have the knowledge, relationships, or capital to execute on them quickly.

John figures he can solve some or all of these problems. Now, a few things to take note of. He doesn’t have a technology background, but he knows technology will be key (knowledge gap). He doesn’t have a lot of money (capital gap), so he needs a cost-effective technology solution. He doesn’t know any developers (relationship gap). He was able to find the help he needs via . . . wait for it . . . Google. He connected with technical talent overseas. He described his problem and they suggested an off-the-shelf solution. He is now able to offer the following to every restaurant he targets:

  • A website for ordering
  • A mobile app for ordering

All for a small amount of capital. Now, the technology isn’t DoorDash or Uber Eats quality, but it’s good enough. He can offer restaurants an online presence with their own mobile app and the ability to offer online ordering for pickup. He used his logistics background to assemble a small team of delivery drivers. Add it all together, and voilà! He created an MVP that solves all three problems he learned about. And he did it all in about a month.

He has signed up a handful of restaurants as customers and is delivering a significant number of orders daily. Every day he’s learning more about his customers and their problems. He’s adjusting his solution based on those learnings.

John is a great example of an entrepreneur looking for a product–market fit. He’s trying to find the ideal solution to his customer’s problems using an MVP he cobbled together quickly. Is the current solution perfect? No. Is it scalable? In the long run, probably not. Is he learning and adjusting quickly? Absolutely. Will his adjustments lead him to a great solution that customers readily pay for? The way he’s going about things makes success more likely.

If you see a problem and have an idea about how to solve it, consider starting with an MVP. It doesn’t have to be perfect or pretty.