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Business Issues

Market saturation

Waiter.com has good coverage in the San Francisco Bay Area. Deliveryu.com has good coverage of the washington, DC area. Everything else inbetween is basically untouched.

Most Chain restaurants have a web prescence, but don't have the ability to order food. Food.com focuses on chain restaurants, but its penetration is limited.

This is what I would call an underserved market. There are lots of opportunities. Restaurants have needs, but no way to satisfy those needs. Such needs provide inviting opportunities for business.

Selling food ordering services to Restaurants

The traditional approach to penetrating the market is to use an inhouse sales force. For chain restaurants, it's cost efficient to pay a sales man to make contact. One sales person can influence hundreds of nationwide restaurants. For small mom and pop restaurants, it becomes less cost efficient. As a sales person can only influence one restaurant at a time.

An alternative approach is to do away with the sales person altogether. What if you could build a system that allows restaurants to build their own prescence on the web using wizards and such. Most restaurant menus are a series of non customizable food items that can easily be set up from a wizard. Thus the owner's teenage son can easily build the restaurant web site using a wizard. Or if the wizard idea is a flop, I'm certain that our restaurant XML grammar can easily be mastered by any teenager with HTML experience. We provide facilities. They build their own site.

Strengths

  1. Perl
  2. CGI
  3. Javascript
  4. XML
  5. Databases

Weakness

  1. Graphic design
  2. Customer relationships
  3. Secure commerce

Restaurant Web Site Services

  1. Gift Certificates
  2. Coupons
  3. Reservations
  4. Mailing list: to keep in touch with customers
  5. Web prescence
    1. simple: hours of operation, some text, picture of the diner
    2. complex: full blown web site with loads of information done in cooperation with that restaurant's marketing department.
    3. portal: The central portal for all restaurant web sites with customization for geographic regions. If I'm in Dallas, I want to know about the places of fine cuisine I can go to.
  6. Online ordering of food
    1. customization of food items
    2. Pictures of food items
    3. Restaurant theme: background colors, graphics
    4. Any other customization that requires programmer's time
  7. Web half of a delivery system: Someone else would have to provide the drivers.

No web site sells more than one of these categories of services. What we ought to do is build a site that sells every service, and every one of those services ought to be the best of breed. One stop shopping for 1st rate services. There is no technical reason why this can't be done. We have the technology. We have the programmers. We only need a bit of time, some books, and a lot of coding.

Possible 3rd Party Partnerships

  1. Mapping software/website listing of restaurants
  2. Travel website listing of restaurants

Making Money

We can make money with a combination of any or all of the following. It's not one of these; it can be many or all of these. Be aware that some ideas are more worthy than others.

  1. Very Low risk
    After building the website, we can use the website as a showpiece to demonstrate our commercial level skills to prospective employers. Getting a job is a very legitimate and very safe way to earn money.
  2. Low risk
    Sell the software to food ordering sites, like waiter.com and deliveryu.com. Sell them software and get em hooked on a subscription.
  3. High risk
    Get a bunch of sales people who will visit all the restaurants selling to every single one. Costs can be quite high for maintaining sales force. Can charge monthly fee and per order fee.
  4. Medium risk
    Get a small number of sales people who will sell to the chain restaurants. We integrate our software with their web sites. Cost efficient since one salesman can talk to one chain and influence 400 nationwide restaurants. We can charge fees for the software, subscription fees, consulting fees to integrate, and per order fees.
  5. Medium risk
    Build a restaurant wizard where a restaurant can build their own site within our food ordering system. If the restaurant owner has a teenage son, then the son can use our XML to build an even more comprehensive web site. Cost efficient since you don't need to pay a sales man to reach out to the restaurant. Charge monthly and per order fees.
  6. High risk
    Build half a delivery system. We build the web side half. Then someone else does the actual food delivery. Currently there are no independent food delivery services. All such delivery services are part of a catering service, pizza place, or waiter.com. In building our web half, we have to depend on a build-it-and-they-will-come strategy. We would have to encourage taxi drivers and other ice cream truckers to be entrepreneurs and form their own independent fleets of food delivery vehicles. We would then partner with these delivery guys and charge monthly and per order fees.

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contact: emcee.lam@juno.com
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