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How foodtech startup ESB onboarded Indonesia’s F&B giants

Published on December 6, 2022


Gunawan Woen, co-founder and CEO of ESB, is an accomplished entrepreneur, with an impressive career profile and a deep understanding of the F&B industry.

But one of the things that struck AC Ventures when the firm decided to invest was Gunawan’s ability to attract some of the most well-known F&B operators to use ESB from the get-go, even before the team had raised any capital. 

How did he convince some of the biggest brands in the Indonesian F&B game to take a risk and use a new restaurant management system? In a recent episode of Indonesia Digital Deconstructed, hosted by Adrian Li of AC Ventures, Gunawan explained that it is crucial to possess the same vision as the leaders of these companies. 

He said, “First of all, how do these companies become so big? They have great leaders. Visionary leaders. With these big guys, as long as you have the same vision, everything will just make sense for them.”

Gunawan did not find it difficult for ESB to onboard large F&B outfits because when he shared the roadmap he had designed for them, it often aligned with what they had already wanted for their own companies. The only thing standing in their way was the fact that they were experts in F&B and not technology. Technical talent and a large amount of focus were needed to build the systems they wanted. ESB brought this to the table.

ESB looks to fill in the tech gaps for these big companies that are experts in their own fields (great food and stellar service). By doing so, enterprise users can focus on doing what they do best while ESB takes care of the digital side of the equation.

A number of the features ESB has developed for its customers are forward-thinking in nature. These include direct-to-customer ordering via mobile app, QR code payments, and contactless dining (even before Covid-19 arrived).

These features remain in high demand, some even address popular concerns about staffing amidst rising manpower costs. Other features reduce overhead costs while increasing in-store efficiency.

Gunawan figured out that placing the responsibility of ordering in the customers’ hands removed wait staff from the food ordering step and removed the risk of mistyped orders by employees. As part of the product design process, he regularly listened to the woes of his early restaurant customers. When the pandemic hit Indonesia, it accelerated ESB’s adoption, with the company now having grown by more than 300%. 

Enjoy the full episode for free on Spotify, Google, and Apple.

How ESB used human touch to hit an apex in trying times

See also: ESB, Indonesia’s largest restaurant management SaaS, locks in US$29M


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