Zeid Husban knew food technology was cool before it was cool. The F&B world has been at the heart of his entrepreneurial endeavours, starting with ifood.jo (acquired by Delivery Hero) and POSRocket for the past 5 years. Ready for his next moonshot?
The locker room speech
The MENA region has become a true innovation hub for the F&B world, from groundbreaking food concepts, to delivery apps and the adoption of backend technologies to support whole new ecosystems aiming at delivering value to consumers.
A similar trend is happening in fintech with the exponential growth of payment technologies thanks to the rise of e-commerce in the region. According to Deloitte, e-commerce sales are forecasted to surge at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.9 per cent from 2016 to 2021 to reach $48.8 billion.
Let’s see how POSRocket is loading its ship to seize the amazing opportunity ahead.
Can you tell us more about yourself?
I am Zeid Husban, I’ve always been into the latest trends in technology. I got my bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from the University of Kent in the UK, and ever since then I’ve been diving into different experiences in different industries.
For the past 5 years, I’ve been working on building a better experience for restaurant owners by introducing POSRocket spaceship in the MENA region. Restaurant owners will definitely rely on POSRocket’s cloud based point of sale system to develop their businesses.
What initially motivated you to start this business?
A few years after I came back from college, I started a business called ifood.jo, an online service for ordering food, with my partner back then, Omar Akel. Although it was a success, I wasn’t exactly satisfied with the technicality of it all. We were facing so many issues with our call center and with taking orders. The chain of connecting customers to restaurants had many weak spots.
“For instance, let’s say you had wanted to order your shawarma, you would do it through our application but because restaurants did not have a smart cloud system, the order wouldn’t be automatically added to the traditional cash register being used at this Shawerma place and hence the employee would have to manually enter your order to the traditional point of sale , and you can imagine how many things can go wrong with that. Of course, not to mention the errors that would happen when we would update the restaurant menus on the system. We knew we were missing something that would have made our lives so much easier, and would have allowed us to give an even better experience to all of our customers. We needed something organized, fast, efficient, and centralized. And that’s why I started POSRocket.”
Can you tell us more about your business?
Our business is truly a tool that can revolutionize every small to medium growing business. We offer our services to all kinds of businesses, from restaurants to boutique shops, to really any business that wants to offer the best and most efficient experience to their customers.
We see the flaws in traditional cash registers, and we program our features to offer you a completely different and upgraded experience. We are completely on the cloud, so your details are secure and saved. Our clients are able to manage every location -every detail- with a click of a button. Also, if you are still not convinced that we offer the best of the best, you should know that our system works offline, is very affordable, and has the most advantageous features such as Kitchen Display System (KDS), Inventory management, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Call Center Management and alot more. In addition, our team of astronauts are constantly working to update and customize our system even more. We do the complicated details and the difficult math, and we set you off to be in total control of your own spaceship.
What is the feedback from your customers at the moment?
Our customers are pretty happy and satisfied, and we always strive to keep them that way. We’re considerate and sensitive to any changes that happen in the market, and we work quickly to better personalize our services for our customers. We always want what’s best for them and their growing businesses, and that’s one of the main reasons why POSRocket has been partnering up with third party service providers that complement the full cycle, which in turn creates a seamless experience for both restaurants and end users. We are constantly looking forward to integrating with different companies that help us improve our service.
Right now, we are mostly specialized in the Food & Beverage sector, offering our distinguished services mostly to quick-service restaurants (QSR) and multi-location restaurants, because we don’t only have a background in the field due to our experience at ifood.jo but we also understand the value a cloud-based system provides to such businesses.
Our goal here is really to transform the point-of-sale systems in the Middle East and North Africa region. We’ve been quick, orderly, and well-organized. POSRocket was launched in Jordan only in 2016, a year later we opened our very own office in Egypt, and after that in Kuwait in 2018. And now we are branching off in Saudi Arabia.
What role did technology play in supporting your launch?
Technology is one of the important pillars that our business is based on. Every issue we faced at ifood.jo like I mentioned, can be instantly resolved with a cloud-based system. Hence, obviously technology has had a vital role in our launch, and in our continued success as well. Everything requires a smart solution now, and thus, our system offers a smart cloud-based technology that allows our customers to stay up to date with the market, and continue to offer their services despite any challenges including the pandemic we are facing right now.
What market trends have you observed since the beginning of the pandemic?
The pandemic has impacted every single person. And due to our close work with the F&B sector, we were able to perceive the pandemic’s effect on these independent and growing businesses. The line connecting the businesses to their customers was wearing thin because of the lockdown, and it had to be fixed in some way. Businesses have had to invent ways to get used to the new norm that the pandemic imposed on all of us, and they are trying to find the best way to save their business and save their customer base.
What advice would you give to those who need to reinvent themselves because of the crisis?
I really advise businesses to think smart and think now, to modify and upgrade the way their businesses operate based on what the market requires now during the pandemic, to really move away the traditional ways of thinking.
An online presence is one of the best ways to have your customers remember you and the experience you offer, and to also build a larger customer base. Everyone is online right now, so make sure they see you and they know who you are.
Meeting people half-way is also crucial, so offering efficient delivery services can keep your business alive and your customers satisfied and safe. Another important tool at restaurants right now is QR-code menus, very efficient, very modern, and very safe.
And trust me, investing in sanitary items like masks and hand sanitizers, and following the social distancing rules is not a useless cost for your business, because then you can protect your business from any fines or temporary closings, and you can show your customers that you care about their safety and comfort. The pandemic really opened everyone’s eyes to what they expect for their brand experience, so try to meet their expectations.
Anything important we missed during this pandemic?
While everyone was engrossed in covid-19, fearing of catching the virus and grieving the worldwide economic crisis, we changed our coping strategy in order to be able to deal with the overwhelming pandemic, impacting the F&B sector in particular. POSRocket offered covid-19 relief program to clients to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. We treat our clients as family members through thick and thin, for better or for worse.