App Enables Advance Ordering at Isle Restaurants
A locally built app for hungry people in a hurry helps customers order ahead, while also helping businesses find and keep new customers. Dodecki only hit the Apple App Store in March and came out for Android in May, but has already added its 100th restaurant.
“It’s really picking up,” says Dodecki cofounder and CEO Michael Gifford. “We have six team members now, though most are still working for love.”
On the consumer end, Dodecki offers an easy way to order and pay for meals at quick-service restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, and other eateries before walking in the door. Basically, Dodecki has app-ified the old-school phone and fax ordering systems. But in addition to eliminating long waits in line, the app ensures accurate orders, and facilitates cashless payments.
Even better, Dodecki users can save their favorite order combinations to quickly request “the usual.” And Dodecki lets consumers track orders in real time, allowing them to see when it’s ready to be picked up, fresh from the kitchen.
“Get in, get out, and get on with your life,” Dodecki proclaims, something that you can do at eateries like Zippy’s, Big City Diner, Teddy’s Bigger Burgers, J.J. Dolan’s, and other restaurants on Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island.
But while most similar apps make money by taking a cut of each transaction, Dodecki’s business model is on the marketing side. Gifford and his handful of teammates (including one multi-talented developer) offer restaurants help with promotion. And the target market is more than just app users; Dodecki can also develop campaigns on platforms like Facebook and Google ads.
Rather than taking a shotgun approach through conventional media buys, Dodecki’s clients are able to target specific markets — vegetarians in Kaimuki, for example — and bring in new customers and build loyalty through “smart coupons” and exclusive discounts.
Dodecki sets up restaurants with iPads that display orders as they come in.
“It was hard finding a way to position them so employees could easily see the notifications,” Gifford says. “So I built custom stands out of LEGO.”
Gifford came to Hawaii by way of Oklahoma, spending seven years in Kailua-Kona on Hawaii Island before moving to Honolulu. Like many, he was intrigued by the potential of the iPhone when it debuted, and found like-minded partners to help him build the app and company. And he honed his entrepreneurial skills with the Founders Institute.
“It was a very intense program,” Gifford notes. “I think I was one of only five that graduated, out of more than 20 that signed up.”
Gifford and his cofounders Brendan Shriane, Titus Peterson, and Lester John Bates III already have plans to expand to the mainland later this year. But for now, Gifford is pounding the pavement every day, meeting with restaurant owners and convincing them of the benefits of advance app ordering.
Dodecki has found a lot of interest in Kakaako, where many tech-savvy, app-happy people can be found. But they may also be finding success in the neighborhood because Gifford works out of ProtoHUB Honolulu, collaborating with a team scattered from Puna to Seattle via Slack. (I love Slack.)
“There’s a cafe just down the street called Uproll,” he tells me. “They were the first to sign up, and now they’re seeing some of the best success through our app.”
And if there’s a restaurant you’d like to see in Dodecki, just suggest it. It won’t take long before Gifford heads out to recruit them as well.