Interview with Javier Dutan: Restaurant Automation ‘à la Bitcoin’
While technological innovation is seldom heard of in the restaurant industry, New York City-based entrepreneur Javier Dutan saw a chance to innovate using Bitcoin.
While technological innovation is seldom heard of in the restaurant industry, New York City-based entrepreneur Javier Dutan saw a chance to innovate using Bitcoin. Dutan is CEO of Novaux, a restaurant point-of-sale (POS) system with Bitcoin at its heart.
Dutan saw a clear opportunity in the NYC restaurant business, which has over 22,500 restaurants, most of them using point-of-sale systems that charge varying but unanimously high bank fees and charges. He realised that Bitcoin could be just what the restaurateurs needed.
The stress of running a restaurant in New York City has certainly not proved to be too much for Dutan. After opening his first restaurant at age 16, Javier went on to set up more than 10 restaurants for his family and clients.
Cointelegraph interviewed Dutan to find out more about him and his innovative ideas.
Cointelegraph: As a young restaurateur, what attracted you to Bitcoin?
Javier Dutan: Bitcoins have much lower processing fees than credit cards, and in a restaurant, your bottom line counts. An extra 2 to 3% in fees takes away from the little profit margin we have.
Bitcoin is much easier to process. Our card processing takes one to two days to deposit funds in our account. Bitcoin takes less than 10 minutes and about a day to process the fiat currency. Cash flow is extremely important in restaurants, missing one ingredient or missing a payment due to lack of funds is always an expensive mishap.
Bitcoin is really cool, whenever I tell anyone about my restaurant and how we accept Bitcoin, I see their faces light up. Honestly, Bitcoin is still not mainstream enough for the average Joe to know about it, which makes it cool and hip.
CT: What advantages does Bitcoin pose in the retail POS business?
JD: Bitcoin is really easy to pay with. Just scan a QR code and send your payment over.
It’s very secure and avoids the whole PCI compliance setup (very expensive for POS and businesses).
Tipping and other cool ideas could become mainstream in the next few years. Tipping is hard to innovate.
CT: What has Novaux's traction been like so far?
JD: We have over 50 restaurant clients in NYC, primarily in Hispanic neighborhoods and immigrant communities. The system is very easy to use and aimed to have only the core features you need in business, instead of high-detailed features (food temp, oz./lbs./weight ratios and complex inventory).
We have a lot of overseas users. We have over 250 businesses using the POS.
Bitcoin sales have been very low. I believe mainstream adoption is still a few years away.
CT: What has the trend of Bitcoin usage been like in NYC and in the restaurant space in general?
JD: Bitcoin is huge in NYC, but not in a retail space. A lot of POS competitors announced their support for Bitcoin over six months ago and almost none of them had delivered on the promise. It’s not a super-requested feature for businesses yet. There’s also a really cumbersome registration process to accept bitcoins and have them converted to fiat.
Bitcoin is getting bigger in remittance and financial services such as SecondMarket. Wall Street seems to be warming up to it.
The general population is more fascinated by the “revolutionary” Apple Pay.
CT: What does the future of restaurant-based POS integration look like to you?
JD: Restaurant POS is growing rapidly, as the data you can derive from restaurants can be used to enter other markets such as loyalty programs, marketing, collecting customer data, etc. Including Bitcoin in the mix would be nice since you can track its information through metadata and the blockchain. You might see some crazy tracking of it in the near future.
We have Bitcoin set up in a simple fashion. Print through a receipt, or show on a tablet screen. (Pay at table or counter). We have some more ideas of making it more streamlined. We are waiting for mainstream adoption to grow, or when restaurants start requesting more features before we dedicate man -hours to the project.
CT: Tell us about your plans for Novaux.
JD: Novaux is a great and easy tool for restaurants to manage orders, payments, kitchen data, Bitcoins, and so much more. We initially wanted to be a big driver in Bitcoin, but we are too small of a team to do so.
We are pivoting towards restaurant automation, which essentially means that with the data we are collecting from restaurants, we want to make a restaurant owner’s life much easier by estimating financial projects, efficiency, and eventually inventory. In the restaurant industry, each restaurant has so many functions that need to be done by various people. A small restaurant has the owner who does everything. We can make their lives easier by taking the POS data from Novaux and creating concise, to-the-point reports about their restaurant.
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