Dorst Technology NV only existed this year although the idea has been fizzing for several years with founder Maxim Sergeant. They have the simple idea of digitizing catering industry.
“In the past, we’ve looked at pilot projects. We’ve also worked with Payconic, but we’ve noticed that the market wasn’t quite ready yet. Now, with the corona crisis, the moment has arrived to put our concept strongly on the market.” says Maxim Sergeant.
The idea is simple: Tables are fitted with a QR code, and anyone who scans them will see the smartphone’s menu or drink card. So you order on your own screen and pay. On a screen, the catering operator will see the order, probably separated for the bar and the kitchen, and can complete the order. Working with a pick-up point is possible, too. “We even have an algorithm that prevents too many people from reaching that pickup point at the same time,” Sergeant says.
There are no entry or cancellation fees, so operators can start or stop whenever they want.
The client may not install an app or create an account. “The QR code points you to Dorst.app / café name. It is a software-as-a-service model for which the operator pays 19 euros per month, regardless of the size of the business. We will operate completely free of charge until 1 January. There are no entry or cancelation fees so operators can start or stop whenever they wish.”
Therefore, Dorst does not charge a commission for every order. What’s left is the Bancontact / Payconiq costs. Though they’re also lower than a normal cost of payment. “Normally you pay 39 cents for a Bancontact transaction online, but we have negotiated that it will be 17 cents per transaction for Dorst users.”
Sergeant isn’t ready for his piece of test. He has been running e-commerce software Bakkersonline for several years now that enables customers to buy and pay online from their baker, pastry chef or chocolatier to collect from the store at a specific time. That business is now active in 23 countries and Sergeant wants to continue doing so, so he limits his role at Dorst to that of president.
In addition to him, the company has three other directors: Johannes Gobyn, who until a few years ago was also in Bakkersonline, Filip Vanheusden and Dirk Ketele. The latter two come from a co-shareholder, the cooperative catering firm Xenia Services. Vanheusden, in turn, is also chairman of Horeca Vlaanderen. In practice the company is managed daily by Gobyn and Ketele.
That means the young company has two experienced catering specialists immediately with an in-house network. “I’m going to keep managing Bakkersonline, but I really wanted Dorst to have the right partners around me so we could respond perfectly to the catering entrepreneur’s needs,” Sergeant said.
Though not stopping there. For instance, Alken-Maes is collaborating to promote the digital menu in its cafés. In return, like Xenia members, those cafes pay only half the monthly subscription as soon as the free period ends on January 1st.
The goal is to conquer the Belgium in the first place, then Europe and ultimately the rest of the world. “We want market leadership in the Benelux. This is feasible in Belgium, there are already two similar systems in the Netherlands, so we want to be a powerful challenger there or look at acquisitions. We are already a big step in the right direction with strategic partnerships, like with Alken-Maes.”
But will a locally sounding company name like Dorst also going to catch up abroad? “We adapt that. We’re active as Soif.app in Wallonia and we’re called Soif Technology. It’s Sedif in Spain and Durst in Germany. The intention is to get out of the local ‘Dorst’ term by country.”