They say hunger is the best sauce, and hunger was foremost in the minds of web developers Ciara Traynor and her Canadian business partner Anthony Kauffmann when they found themselves working late into the night on a project a couple of years ago. After turning their office upside-down in vain looking for a takeaway menu, they fumed at the fact that there wasn’t some way of getting fed online. That frustration was their eureka moment, and the idea for takeaway.ie was born.
Ciara had an understanding of how the restaurant business ticks as her parents owned a sea-side restaurant in Laytown, Co Meath. However, her career had taken a different path. She had worked in the banking sector in IT and then spent a few years in Paris before returning home to break into the area of web design. Herself and Anthony, pride themselves on building clear, practical commercial websites through their company Technotion (www.technotion.ie).
The duo realised that the concept for an online food ordering website, coupled with the fact that they were the first in Ireland to try to fill this gap in the market, was a big project, and probably best separated from the ‘bread and butter’ business of Technotion.
“Essentially we wanted to build a portal, where good quality food outlets could put their menus on our site and customers could order directly through it,” explains Ciara.
They approached Dublin City Enterprise Board (DCEB) and got assistance through two employment grants and the invaluable mentoring skills of Celtar consultant Billy Linehan. “DCEB have been fantastic,” says Ciara. “Billy was really enthusiastic, but he warned us that we needed to get a better grip of the details. We realised that we had to do more than just talk the talk; we had this great idea, but it was just an idea. We had to build this site and start approaching people before we could speculate on how our users, clients and income might grow.”
They managed to secure the essential ingredient for any web-based business – the right domain name. When someone is hungry and hunting for a solution online, a ‘does-what-it-says-on-the-tin’ domain name is crucial – no tricky hyphens, no added words. Takeaway.ie was launched in April 2008 and is on an impressive growth curve both from clients keen to make their food available, and from punters happy to take part in Ireland’s latest food revolution. What’s more, Ciara and Anthony also snapped up the takeaway.mobi domain so they will be able to develop their concept into the mobile technology market.
Online food ordering is a hot idea right now. One of the biggest restaurant franchises in the world, Dominos, has seen online sales grow 85% to £25.3m in the UK in the last year, with internet and text orders representing 22% of the firm’s pizza delivery sales in the UK. While many restaurants have websites where they can place their latest menus and offer contact details, takeaway.ie can give them something almost impossible to achieve on their own – top billing on a Google search.
“Some of the restaurants we approach say ‘well we already have a site’, but we explain that what we’re doing will not detract from that online presence at all,” says Ciara. “In fact, they have the same facility to update their menus and keep control of the content, but we make that menu easier to find online and much more prominent.”
From a surfer’s point of view, takeaway.ie ticks lots of boxes. Searching for a meal near you is made easy by the straight-forward layout and function of the site. And there’s no bickering if someone wants Indian and someone else Italian food, as it’s easy to order from a variety of outlets at one sitting. It can cater for an individual with an attack of the munchies just as easy as someone who’s entertaining guests for the evening.
The revenue stream is simple, there is no set up charge to restaurants and it’s free for website users. Takeaway.ie’s business model sees it take a percentage of each sale generated through the site. Food outlets are happy with the growth in business, and customers can enjoy the satisfaction of good food delivered to their door without the hassle of cooking and cleaning.