Daniil Klubov is the founder and CEO of spoon.tech. He and his partner Rares Bacila embarked on a digital-first restaurant space journey with a profound realization – technology alone is not enough. spoon.tech was born from the idea that the primary task of a restaurant operator is to make workers do what you want them to do.
In an interview with Digital Hospitality, Daniil shared his journey from starting a digital-first restaurant chain in Vienna to founding spoon.tech, a tech platform aimed at revolutionizing deskless workforce training in the restaurant industry with host Shawn Walchef of Cali BBQ Media. He emphasizes that the success of automation and digitization relies on fostering a culture where employees not only embrace but genuinely want to utilize digital tools.
Daniil states, “It’s all about culture and it’s all about people. It’s all about the team.”
He discusses the concept of “gamification” as a means to foster a fun learning environment and reduce employee turnover, which is notoriously high in the restaurant sector. Daniil believes that the key reasons behind this volatility are frustration due to operational chaos and the perceived lack of growth opportunities within the restaurant. spoon.tech, described as the “Duolingo for deskless workforce training,” uses mobile games to facilitate learning and improve performance in a playful way.
From user interviews, the spoon.tech team discovered that two cases when people use the app most are when they’re commuting in public transport and when they’re sitting in the toilet. This is something Daniil takes pride in, because it shows that the user experience is so enjoyable that spoon.tech is competing with platforms like TikTok and Instagram for people’s attention, and not just other learning platforms.
The interview also covers Klubov’s perspective on the European restaurant industry’s approach to technology, contrasting it with the U.S. market. He explains the challenges in Europe due to language diversity and differing regulations.
Klubov highlights the potential and limitations of AI and robotics in the restaurant business, emphasizing the importance of enabling the workforce with technology rather than replacing jobs.
Towards the end of the interview, Klubov shares his experience selling his restaurant business and his decision to focus on spoon.tech. He believes that building in public and engaging in constant communication are essential strategies for entrepreneurs.
Automation Doesn’t Replace Relationships – Employee engagement and culture are critical for the successful integration of technology in the restaurant business. Without employee support, even the most sophisticated digital systems can fail.
Gamification Reduces Staff Turnover – Gamification can be an effective strategy to address high employee turnover by creating an enjoyable and rewarding learning environment.
Feedback is the Key – For tech entrepreneurs, especially in the software industry, building in public and seeking constant feedback is vital for success. It helps in refining the product and resonates with users’ actual needs.
Cali BBQ Media
Digital Hospitality is an interview-based video podcast hosted by business owner Shawn P. Walchef (@shawnpwalchef) and produced by his Cali BBQ Media company. The weekly digital series explores the ways successful businesses and entrepreneurs have merged old and new with innovative digital strategies that harness the power of the Internet and social media. Shawn is the founder of Cali BBQ Media and creator of the Restaurant Influencers podcast on Entrepreneur Media.
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