Our Start-up of the Week is Papershop, a platform for simple, powerful digital menu management for restaurants.
Papershop is an Irish start-up that was conceived by teenagers Richard Beattie and Cillian Collins earlier this year.
Beattie and Collins met at the Patch summer accelerator which was hosted by Dogpatch Labs, with the goal of bringing talented young people together to find the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Prior to meeting one another at Patch, Collins’ work in tech involved identifying major security vulnerabilities in websites such as Sony’s; while Beattie is preparing to attend MIT next year to study computer science.
Beattie’s parents also own multiple cafés, so he has witnessed some of the challenges that businesses in the food industry can face.
One of these challenges is managing menus.
What Papershop does
Speaking to Siliconrepublic.com, the co-founders said: “The restaurant industry has been slowly moving their menus online in recent years, and we believe Covid-19 will be a catalyst for this change.
“The digital world is demanding and restaurants need to keep their menus updated on their website. [This includes] their physical menus as well as delivery platforms such as Just Eat, Deliveroo and Uber Eats.”
While moving online can be tricky for businesses, the Papershop co-founders believe that there are numerous additional advantages of digital menus. They’re easier to maintain, provide a more comfortable dining experience by showing more images or allergens, and can also gather key insights for restaurants.
Beattie and Collins explained that digital menus, which allow customers to order online, can help to provide information on what dishes customers are avoiding, as well as a platform to gather contract-tracing information during a pandemic.
The co-founders said: “Papershop takes the hassle out of managing menus. We replace printed menus with contactless menu cards. Customers simply tap a card to open a digital menu on their phones. Our menu manager lets restaurants edit these instantly and any edits are automatically pushed to the restaurant’s other online platforms, such as Just Eat or Deliveroo.”
At first, Beattie and Collins found it challenging to collaborate remotely on their start-up. As time has gone on, they said that this has gotten easier. They added that they were “extremely fortunate” to be involved in the Patch accelerator earlier this year.
“We met many other highly accomplished young people involved in interesting start-ups and we got the chance to brainstorm our idea with successful entrepreneurs,” the duo said. “Ireland definitely has a lot to offer in the way of support for early stage start-ups.”
Papershop’s digital menu platform utilises near-field communication (NFC) technology. The founding team explain that this creates a frictionless experience where all customers need to do is bring their phone close to the card for the digital menu to open. No apps need to be downloaded.
“This menu is a single-page React app designed to create native experience,” the founders explained. “It also matches the restaurant’s branding.
“We’ve developed onboarding systems that let restaurants set up really quickly. We can import their menu and branding directly from their delivery platform or by using machine learning algorithms we’ve developed to scan images of their printed menus.”
The start-up is currently charging a subscription fee of €10 per month to restaurants for this service, which they believe is enough to help them scale. Beattie and Collins have also considered raising a seed round to accelerate the customer acquisition process and expand operations.
The co-founders said: “We tested the product with four restaurants in Dublin and have just launched our beta. We’re currently contacting more restaurants that may be interested in partnering with us as we begin to scale up. We’re hoping to get feedback from these partners to further refine the product and ensure we’re adding value back to their businesses.”
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