What if taking corporate clients out for a slap-up meal could earn you a free weekend lunch?
That is the dream Michelle Songy wants to realise with new app Cake .
It is designed to be the Uber of the restaurant world, allowing diners to find, book and pay for meals out in Canary Wharf and London.
Users can split the bill with friends at the touch of a button and earn credit back from their favourite restaurant to be spent on dining there in the future.
“The idea is to literally make going out for dinner a piece of cake,” said Michelle who founded the Shoreditch-based company with friend Charlotte Kohlmann about two years ago.
“We were working at our corporate jobs and going out a lot and found there were all these new restaurants and the city was growing, which is great,” said Michelle who previously worked for Coca Cola.
“But the biggest pain was paying and trying to split the bill. We wanted to make it simple and take all the admin out and make it really seamless.”
They started with £200,000 seed money and launched 18 months ago with 10 restaurants. They have since grown to 20 full-time employees, an investment of £3million, 250 venues signed up and hundreds of thousands of downloads.
There are well over 10,000 people in the Canary Wharf area who have the app, which so far can be used at Chai Ki in Crossrail Place, 28West in Westferry Circus, Greenwich Tavern, and most recently Tom’s Kitchen .
“We have the highest retention of users of the app in Canary Wharf because they like going to the same places over and over again,” said Michelle.
“London has 17,000 restaurants, more than New York and San Francisco combined and there are so many great ones in Canary Wharf so it is definitely an area we want to grow in.”
Founder of Chai Ki Rohit Chugh said: “It’s great for us to be able to offer guests the option to pay using an app on their phone. We find the team at Cake easy to work with and very proactive.”
Charlotte’s previous job in finance for Deutsche Bank has helped with the business side of the company, which continues to grow. The app has been expanded to allow them to tailor marketing and promotions to customer’s preferred venues and areas of the capital.
She said: “We can see if they are ordering vegetarian food or red wine, or if they go to a certain venue every Tuesday.
“Often restaurants are so busy they might not notice little things like that but we can pick up on it and advise the venue to give loyal customers rewards.”
The app uses Braintree for payments, with Cake getting paid 2-5% of the bill.
Soon it will be introducing a feature to allow diners to tip their waiters using a unique code, allowing the money to go directly into that person’s pay packet.
And they are also looking into allowing users to review restaurants and gift credit to friends to spend.
“We have been growing 20% month on month and hopefully next year we will be in profit,” said Charlotte.
“Apps like this are a growing market and I think probably in the next five years people will stop carrying cash around altogether.”
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