The story of Customenu


The story of Customenu

I build the Customenu startup and I’ll #buildinpublic, using this thread on Twitter

What is Customenu?

A digital menu platform for #restaurant.

Instead of using a boring paper where to check the dishes, you can see a nice representation on your smartphone.

This is the second release and this time I decided to share my journey on Twitter.

I started for the first time, one year ago in June. It was the pandemic situation and in Romania new rules were coming for the restaurants businesses. That was the moment when I decided to start building this project.

Only me thinking about this project.

What should do?

  1. Scan a QR code
  2. Open the menu
  3. Check products in categories and subcategories

How this should be managed?

The system is build from 4 components:

  • backend
  • admin app
  • mobile app, it’s a web app actually
  • showcase website

How I started?

Happy and enthusiastic. Oh, I think this was about something different. I started to see which is my competition in Romania. Because I thought for that moment to target only my country. I am a developer so my business skills are not so well developed and it made me feel more confident, because of the cultural context.

I understood which are my competitors and I saw some red flags:

  • few of them offers demo
  • bad #seo for the most of them
  • vague informations about how it works and what it does the whole system
  • not strong value of propositions
  • the advantages proposed by the system were not appealing

So what a great developer does? Code. Meh, actually I sketched a bit with a pen on the paper some screens and what is the flow.

Then code. And have an MVP product.

Along with this I started to read books about this, joining fb groups for entrepreneurs in this niche and so on.

How to get clients?

  • fb ads
  • commenting on topics
  • sending DM to restaurant on social media
  • go on google maps and get contacts of restaurants then send cold emails
  • write blog posts on the blog
  • write documentation about how to handle by yourself the full process

Some clients?

NO!

I had some people which tried the product, but the sale was not made.

Is my product that bad? Idk, maybe.

What I found was that price should be too small, because that’s a red flag for customers. One actually told me that in the face! I increased the price on the same margins with my competition and things were better.

Need to mention that until now, in my story, the restaurant were fully closed. I tried to sell to them by offering free trial for 6 months, until they will open again, because of the pandemic situation.

They started but I don’t think digital menus was their priority at that moment. And let’s remind that probably the guilty for 0 sales is on me, I assume that.

I continued until April with the project live and with 0 clients.

Apply for a business incubator

I decided to enroll myself into an incubator for business in HORECA. I had an initial discussion with two guys which told me that better I close the project because is already dead and the chances for success are pretty low. They mentioned an existing product in the market, which was invested in, one year before and was a total lost and the investors are not interested in a digital menus again. After this meeting I was rejected from that incubator. I tried harder, but after some time and 0 sales I decided to focus on something different.

Finish the first stage

The story is longer, but I would like to refer later in my stories


New steps for the second relaunch

17/ I found a thread from @Aazarshad which talks about #AffiliateMarketing. I add it here, because it looks interesting and helpful.

18/ Being only one person for the moment in this project I switched from Trello to #githubprojects.

I have 3 repositories and this helps me to stay in one ecosystem. Writing a note and create #issues in the corespondent repositories.

19/ So the user can see home with all categories > subcategories > products.

I think that is too much, the most #restaurants has two categories:

  1. food
  2. drinks

I decided to remove the subcategories. One product linked to a category is enough.

20/ Added preparation time near price and weight seems to be a nice and useful feature

21/ Need to find a better #UI for the customenu app. Some suggestions where to find nice and clean ideas?

22/ Search for a #livechat to introduce on the #presentationwebsite, for #wordpresswebsite

24/ I decided to offer #customer #support for those who doesn’t have time to fill the content in the platform.

Discussed with some contractors and get some #offers.

25/ Back to #sales. As the #website is still live, some new customers are coming and fill the contact form.

Let’s go baby!

26/ I had a client which requested the offers, which are very well defined on the website. I replied to them, but not feedback. Thinking to follow up.

27/ Need to add #FreeTrial. I think 7 days are enough for a #digitalmenu #app. The #restaurants have time to test if this is what they need.

28/ Hard decision to make

The website is very well indexed on google, with more keywords on the first page.

But no clients.

I don’t know if I wanna focus on this project, at this moment.

But another email came this morning, from a client which reached organically.

29/ What is funny?! The domain expires in a month and I don’t know if I should keep it or move the project to the recycle bin?

I would like to use the traffic from customenu for cmevo.com, but I don’t know if the best option would be to keep the domain and redirect the traffic to cmevo.com or how?

30/ I canceled the Customenu project.

I set the redirect from customenu to cmevo.com.

That’s all :D

Today I made a showcase video to present customenu as a product under cmevo umbrella.

How the customenu admin panel works is described in the following video.

I’ve made a tutorial which presents from A to Z how the platform works.

How does the app work? Take a look at this video

Huh, after some hours of work I finished the 3 videos about Customenu:

  1. Presentation
  2. How to manage the digital menu
  3. The app demo

More details here: https://cmevo.com/portfolio/digital-menu-for-restaurants-qr-code/

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