The phone notified her that there were twenty plus unread messages. It went on buzzing, and in an hour, it crossed fifty.
Atiya Rahman Pushpo, the proprietor of BiyeBari restaurant, kept the phone on silent mode and got engaged in other work. When she finally got a little time to check the phone at lunchtime, she saw ninety messages from people who asked about the BiyeBari restaurant.
Her restaurant started its journey in 2018, and since the very beginning, she has been struggling to answer the queries of people right at the time. Pushpo's hands were so busy handling dine-in customers and making administrative decisions that she was missing out on potential customers who were trying to contact her virtually.
During that struggling period, she got to learn about a tech platform called engaze.ai. This platform works with restaurants' chatbots and answers most customers' queries in an automated process.
Frequently, it keeps updating the chatbot's answers, as per the queries. Also, it supports restaurants complete home deliveries by taking orders for home delivery directly from their social media platforms.
"Many of our customers' message us right before heading out for our restaurant. Hence, instantly answering all the queries is essential, and it helps to make the customer pool bigger. I was struggling, but luckily engaze.ai came up with this service and is now helping us complete home deliveries on our own," stated Pushpo.
Engaze.ai turns any restaurant's social media page into a delivery platform, from where customers can instantly order and mostly without any area coverage issue.
The concept for this tech platform had been developed before the pandemic. But when it began its journey, we were witnessing the peak of the pandemic.
"The pandemic was a sort of a blessing for us because we flourished as the demand for home delivery kept on growing during that time," said Nazrul Isalm Anik, chief operating officer.
"I don't know if we would have ever been able to execute this idea if there was no pandemic. Right now, we are also helping numerous new restaurants survive by adding the home delivery category to the chatbot."
Initially, the COO anticipated that it would take time to make this plan financially viable. But he soon noticed that people were more interested in welcoming such tech innovations to make their business sustainable with time. Currently, 11 people are working in the core team, and around 50 restaurants are taking their services.
Adding this home delivery to the chatbot was not engaze.ai's idea. Instead, it was added to meet the demands of their clients, as restaurant owners sought alternatives to using well-established food delivery apps.
"Even before us, restaurant owners were taking delivery orders manually and delivering those at a close distance. But this manual process was pretty time and energy-consuming as they had to have a conversation, write down the order, address, then place it in the kitchen and again to the delivery men. So, when we approached them with this as a service - that will directly go to their dashboard and all they need to do is to print a piece of paper instead of having a conversation or writing it down, they happily agreed," Anik explained.
"Who does not want to retain as much of the profit as they can (restaurants usually have to pay food delivery companies a commission)? We are just making it possible for them and creating a platform to observe the customers closely without much effort," he added. "We are planning to create a segment for complaints so that owners can oversee everything, whenever they want."
Restaurant owners also spend a lot of money on post-boosting, photography, and other things, to keep their social media pages active. However, the return on this investment could never be calculated before. However, they can measure it now.
"The service is time and money-saving. I could have hired a query manager for my page, but that would have been way costlier than engaze.ai's monthly charge; so I chose it," shared Pushpo. Engaze.ai has two packages for its customers, and each package is priced at Tk3,000, but it has different combo offers.
With this concept and package, engaze.ai intends to capture the Bangladesh F-commerce market. However, Anik aims to expand the business internationally as well. In recent times, it has made deals with a few restaurants in Toronto, Canada.
"One of my expat friends found our idea exciting. He discussed this business model with a few local restaurant owners in Canada. They were immediately captivated with the concept. So, we did a few meetings, learned about their chain, work process, figured the differences with our model, and reshaped it a bit for a smooth experience. Although many people are unaware of our service, we hope to become a reliable platform as soon as possible," voiced the COO of engaze.ai.