SmartQ: Bringing technology to the office kitchen

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Published: July 23, 2018 12:45 AM

Bengaluru-based SmartQ online foodtech platform is witnessing a 50% month-on-month growth with over 1,00,000 transactions every day.

SmartQ (Website)

Believe it or not, there’s a Vinfusion wine robot from Cambridge Consultants in the US that blends a glass based on your taste. While this might sound futuristic, closer home, a start-up is doing its bit by bringing modern technology to the office kitchen by digitising the traditional cafeteria. In a short span, SmartQ has greatly improved the cafeteria and food-court experience for the employees and customers of corporates. This Bengaluru-based start-up is experiencing a 50% month-on-month growth with 1,30,000 daily transactions; it has grown to 50-plus locations in India and globally.

Founded by Krishna Wage and Abhishek Ashok in 2014, SmartQ has immensely grown its product portfolio, customer base, geographical presence and sales turnover. It has raised close to Rs 8 crore in funding. In 2016, the start-up raised Rs 3.1 crore funding from YourNest Angel Fund. In 2018, it again raised close to Rs 4.75 crore from an investor group led by some Dubai-based investors, while existing investor YourNest also participated in the round.

SmartQ intends to use the raised funds for expanding the business within India and across international geographies along with further strengthening the team by getting together top talent. Through the funds received, the start-up also has plans to roll out some of the world’s best and first-of-its-kind product portfolio for the customers.

The idea behind the start-up was conceptualised because of its co-founder and CEO Krishna Wage’s personal experience of standing for 35 minutes in the queue to get an ‘express combo meal’. When Krishna himself witnessed the challenge of standing in a long queue amidst the cafeteria crowd, he felt the need to use technology to come up with a platform which solves this particular pain point of the consumers. This is how Krishna and Abhishek Ashok started SmartQ.

“SmartQ’s vision is to digitise cafeterias, food courts and restaurants to ultimately eliminate queues and wait time,” says Krishna. The start-up has successfully deployed its technology across 140 cafeterias in two countries and has witnessed 1,30,000 transactions on its platform every single day. SmartQ works with large corporate companies such as Intel and SAP to large food service providers such as Compass group and HMS Host. It is starting its operations in Singapore in the next 2-3 months.

“The primary value proposition that SmartQ offers is the capability to transform any conventional cafeteria into digital and cashless. The SmartQ app provides a seamless user interface and offers convenience of multiple digital payment options, self-ordering kiosks, NFC prepaid cards, POS software, real-time restaurant menus to its customers,” says Krishna. SmartQ provides apps for end-users along with the kitchen display system for chefs and vendors. The vendors can also view the real-time sales on the digital dashboards on the SmartQ app.

According to Krishna, SmartQ is currently operating only in corporate cafeteria segment and will soon start operating in malls, restaurants, education, healthcare, IT parks, stadiums, hospitals, airport food courts, supermarkets, etc., across three countries where there are queue issues. The start-up is the exclusive technology partner for Compass, a global market leader in the food catering industry.
Having already deployed their technology across 140 cafeterias in two countries, SmartQ plans to expand to 250 cafeterias by the year end and to over 1,000 in the next three years.

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