“Guest Experience Management is the new way of working for restaurants”: Interview with Superb’s founder, Zaedo Musa

Superb is the world’s #1 ‘Guest Experience Management’ platform for restaurants. Born in Copenhagen in 2017, Superb is on a mission to help restaurants across the world manage and build guests relationships based on data. By collecting data about their diners and business, restaurants are able to give every guest a personal experience, build a relationship and maximise revenue. 

It is currently available in more than 30 countries and has been implemented by some of the world’s best and most famous restaurants. Even with the pandemic, Superb continues to go strong, not only with helping restaurants face the pandemic, but also as a company; they’re a Copenhagen based company with a 100% remote team spread across all corners of the world. 

Today we sit down with Superb’s founder, 29 year-old entrepreneur, Zaedo Musa. The idea to build Superb came when he helped build ‘Joe and the Juice’ and noticed that the restaurant technology was quite stuck in the past. Most were using outdated practises and systems that left them with a slow workflow and no way to collect data about their guests and business. 

Thank you for joining me today, Zaedo! Let’s dive into the basics first: What’s the story behind Superb? 

I believe experience matters. Superb was founded with the vision of giving the restaurant industry the opportunity to have full control of the data hidden in their software, so they can connect the dots. This is important because they need to collect and access insights on their business and guests, to continue personalising the guest experience and make guests spend more money and have higher satisfaction, and ultimately come back.

In the digital world that we live in, it’s interesting to learn that Superb is the first GXM (Guest Experience Management) platform in the market. Why do you think that is?

Restaurants use many tools to drive revenue and improve the guest experience, however, the problem we tend to see is that the systems are not built to help the restaurant improve their work. Instead they are very utility-focused and offer tools that can do certain actions like print a bill, book a table and sell a gift card. But there’s not one platform that combines all of that and uses the data foundation behind those to bring context to the lives of restaurateurs.

That context can be used in many ways to know how well the business is doing, how many of the guests are actually going back, becoming regulars instead of relying on their gut feeling. 

What I saw was that when the restaurant manager was not on deck, revenue would drop with 25% on a single night. That is simply because they were sitting on more insights about the guests than the rest of the team.

Guest Experience Management is the new way of working for restaurants. We have introduced the world’s first real all-in-one platform for restaurants to have a convenient workflow, collect their data in one place and be able to share that across teams and functions in the restaurant organization. No solution on the market can offer that. Restaurants either are frustrated with integrations that do not work, do not offer them the desired outcome or go back to pen and paper. 

Data has become the centre of almost all companies. The hospitality sector, and especially restaurants, has always had a more traditional, phone and pen-and-paper methodology when it comes to management. How has the data-driven mentality been welcomed in the sector? 

Funnily enough, the restaurant industry might have been the first one to actually collect and use data. Since day one, serving guests would be carried out with a data collecting mindset on the guests’ preferences, how often they would come to the restaurant, their allergies etc. 

However, not much innovation has developed in this industry. The landscape today is still influenced by heavy systems which require on-the-ground implementation, localised or scrappy cloud-solutions and large hardware costs. With the introduction of GDPR and data regulations, which are on the rise globally, it has become even harder – it’s almost impossible to share data on guests across third party systems. What is happening now with Superb is ‘a digitalisation of their mind’ – previously pen and paper was just the tool to categorise their mind. Restaurants have welcomed this solution.

Which would you say are the most challenging and the most rewarding aspects of being a founder?

Thinking big and small at the same time. I would expect most founders to have the hunger to build a global ‘king’ within their category, win market share with high velocity and go from startup to company, both team and revenue-wise. One of the biggest challenges for any founder thinking this way is to manage and plan their mind in phases while still thinking ahead of time. Having that ‘predicting’ mindset is key to handling any situation in front of you e.g. a global pandemic or growing into new markets and what the requirements are, planning what ¡next innovation ¡our the category etc.

What technologies do you think we can expect to see in the hospitality sector in the next 5-10 years?

The best is yet to come. I expect to see us holding on to the traditional experience but fully-automating the digital experience for the guest. Whatever touchpoint they have online before, in between and after the dinner will be heavily influenced by technology that will shape their guest experience in a more personal way. Restaurant Managers will no longer be of that title but they will understand to shift into a Guest Experience Manager just like you have a Customer Success team in a company. That analogue we already see in restaurants today and will only accelerate in the future. The pandemic has also pushed the market towards finding new and innovative ways to enhance the guest experience to drive revenue, drive satisfaction and world of mouth which ultimately can make or break the restaurant brand and business.

This past year, 2020, has been complicated for restaurants around the world. With lockdown and get-together restrictions, many bars and restaurants were forced to close and therefore, stop receiving guests. Has COVID-19 changed any plans for Superb? 

It is very unfortunate that the restaurant industry has been influenced heavily by the pandemic. Going out for dinner is one of the key pillars of our lives. The industry has been hit very hard and needs time to recover in the years to come. However, just like previous recessions, the restaurant industry always recovers because we all need to eat and have a good time!

For Superb we decided to provide restaurants with all the tools they need to manage their experience from home; in this way, we saw thousands of restaurants driving revenue and making their brand relevant for the market despite being closed. While many solutions for restaurants pivoted into takeaway businesses, Superb doubled down on our current roadmap. We hired 15 new employees and grew +100% since the first lockdown. We have been successful with that because we already have full-stacked solutions with many tools restaurants can use in both up- and down-times.

Our plan is to continue to keep the focus on what we are good at and this will enable us to continue pushing innovation despite a year where we could have chosen to do otherwise. We are ready for the reopening and this time restaurants have understood that Guest Experience Management is key to their success. 

As a young entrepreneur, could you share some tips for someone that might have a good idea but doesn’t know how to start building it up?

We built Superb and got it to market in less than 8 weeks. To validate you are solving a real problem, get an MVP in place fast and go out and find customers who want to use it. If they start requesting more features or improvements you know you are on to something and can ask them to pay. From here it’s a hustle and everyone will figure out individually how to move further. You will 100% move further if you are passionate enough about the problem and the market. Keep going even when a pandemic hits and think of it as “the perfect storm” for you to turn the market upside down and finally stamp your mark as a market leader.