App admin overload? Enter Doshii, the smart new API platform that coordinates all your apps and payment systems. Merran White reports
You can boost your brand, extend your market and make sales through hospitality and retail apps—but, increasingly, restaurateurs report being overwhelmed by the resulting traffic and paperwork.
While consumers—for the most part—get the user-friendly ‘Uber-passenger experience’ of hospitality and retail apps, cafés and restaurants aren’t getting the corresponding ‘Uber-driver experience’. Instead, they’re grappling with complexity and clutter, spending valuable time and manpower inputting orders, bookings and payments into multiple systems across multiple devices.
Melbourne entrepreneur Sean O’Meara, CEO of point-of-sale (POS) vendor Impos, noticed the growing need for integration between apps.
“Apps, payments and POS all have the same issue: the time and cost of integrating, and the ongoing cost of maintaining each integration,” O’Meara says. “We could see that there was going to be a spike in apps and payments wanting to connect to POS.”
O’Meara used seed financing from venture capital firm Reinventure to develop an integration platform called Doshii.
Launched last year, so far it’s the only Australian ‘middleware’ API (application programming interface) for the hospitality industry.
“Merchants can seamlessly access third-party applications required to run their business, including payments/pay-at-table devices, order-ahead, reservations, loyalty, rostering, accounting and analytics,” according to the company.
“It’s a clear win for POS and apps to have one API platform for integration,” O’Meara says.
What’s in it for you?
“The Doshii platform is relevant for any restaurant that uses third-party apps as a way to help them better run their service: reservations or ordering apps, ordering services, loyalty platforms, payments, et cetera,” says Doshii Australia general manager, David Engel.
“If you look at a restaurant’s counter space, it’s like an Apple store. They’ve got five different iPads and iPhones and laptops, with printers for each device. That’s where we’re relevant.
“We take the data from all those applications and instead of it going through to separate hardware, we route it through [Doshii] to the point of sale. So a restaurant doesn’t have to take the order coming in on a tablet, print it out, then retype it into the POS; it goes straight to the POS, then follows the standard workflow like any other order.”
This frees up staff to do other things. It also reduces the risk of error, or of losing orders through printer or device malfunctions. It cuts costs because “you don’t have to have or maintain printers and devices; you don’t need people to retype orders into the POS; and you don’t have to spend time reconciling it all when you do the books.”
Doshii works similarly with reservations. It feeds information from booking apps or websites directly into the venue’s POS, “so it fits seamlessly into a restaurant’s usual workflow”, says Engel, just as if the customer had called and made a reservation the old-fashioned way.
“If you look at a restaurant’s counter space, it’s like an Apple store. They’ve got five different iPads and iPhones and laptops, with printers for each device. That’s where we’re relevant.”—David Engel, Australia general manager, Doshii
Restaurants still maintain client relationships with the apps they’re signed up to, Engels says, but Doshii handles incoming customer information from those apps, “so instead of coming in on disparate devices, it’s all integrated into the restaurant’s POS system; we’re now the middleman.”
Best of all, restaurants pay Doshii nothing to connect, he says. “We make our money from apps and platforms that want to connect to the POS.”
What’s in it for apps?
It’s worth the outlay for apps to join Doshii’s platform, says Engel, because it saves them time, effort and expense and “makes the merchant experience easier.
“They’re looking to integrate with different points of sale because they want to be able to provide that ‘seamless’ experience,” he explains. “They want to make reconciliation easier; they don’t want to have to be retyping menus and then updating them every time a price changes.
“However, it simply isn’t viable for the enormous number of apps in market to integrate with hundreds of POS companies on the other side. Doshii solves this problem.”
If a restaurant’s POS is Doshii-integrated, menu-price changes are transferred automatically to all ordering apps the platform supports so “app-company staff no longer have to ask venue owners for new menus, or update their information every time there’s a price change”, Engel explains.
Moreover, many hospitality app services, keen to secure restaurants’ business, give clients printers and laptops or other connected devices to make it simpler for them to handle incoming requests. Connecting with Doshii “removes the need to manage that additional hardware”, Engel says—a further saving.
Who’s on board?
Doshii has completed its integration with Menulog, Australia’s largest restaurant ordering platform. This means that all 8,000 restaurants on the Menulog platform can access the Doshii platform as more and more POS get on board.
Additionally, Doshii is in talks with several other leading hospitality and retail apps, including Mobi2Go, Nestle, Tanda, Smart Ordering and Marketing 4 Restaurants.
Doshii is also working with banks, “integrating their payment devices to points of sale and making them a more ‘human’ experience,”, Engel says. The company just completed a pilot with ANZ that integrated BladePay, “a payment device waiters can also use to take orders”, to Doshii.
“So on one side we’re building up our ‘app marketplace’,” Engel says, “and on the other, getting POS [systems] on board.”
To date, the company has integrated with three POS providers: Impos, H&L and Starrtec. It has more under contract including SwiftPOS, WisdomPOS & Mezapp. Engel expects more to come on board as restaurants call for Doshii integration.
There are plenty of incentives for POS companies: Doshii reduces the ongoing costs of integrating with multiple apps or payment products, while allowing them to give their customers direct integrations into the most popular hospitality and retail apps in the market.
In a nutshell, says Engel, “Doshii helps [apps and venues] in their two biggest focus areas: cutting costs and increasing revenue.”