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Menufy serves up online ordering system that’s free for restaurants

Menufy was born out of the needs of STIX restaurant. Today, the establishment is one of more than 100 Menufy clients.

Sharmil Desai was working at STIX restaurant in Kansas City, Kan. when the restaurant owners needed a website for customers to place to-go orders online.

Desai (left) informed his brother, who was able to create a web platform with basic functionality – ordering notifications, a menu and a FAQ page.

Desai and seven other co-founders then realized the website could easily be generalized to any restaurant. Soon, they had Menufy.

“We took that original site on online ordering and sort of abstracted it and made it general enough to use for other restaurants,” said another co-founder, Meseret Gebre. “And then the company was born.”

That was in 2009. Menufy now boasts more than 100 clients, most located in Kansas City, and three commission-based sales representatives who are working to woo restaurants in other cities. One co-founder also works full-time in sales.

Gebre, who quit his job about three months ago to work on Menufy full time, said what sets the company apart from competitors like Snapfinger is that Menufy creates individual websites for each restaurant, rather than using a portal system with one website for many different clients.

“We create a brand for the restaurant,” he said. “It supports mobile right off the bat and our offering is free for the restaurants.”

Here’s how it works: Customers place an order on the restaurant’s website, created by Menfuy. Menufy then processes the transaction and notifies the restaurant via text, phone or fax. High-volume clients can also receive notifications directly from Menfuy’s system. The restaurant then carries out the order, and Menufy automatically deposits the money into the client’s account using Braintree, an online credit card processing service. Menufy is free for restaurants. Customers pay a “convenience fee” of $1.25 per order.

Gebre (left) said the company will continue offering core services for free by automating a majority of the ordering process. Gebre said Menufy eventually hopes to offer clients add-ons that will cost extra, such as advanced reporting and the ability to send out messages and deals to patrons.

Menufy’s founders, who can speak nine languages collectively, have been bootstrapping the company but are looking for investment.

“We currently don’t have any funding,” Gebre said. “The money is coming from us, the guys that are working full time.”


Credits: Screenshot from stixkc.comPhoto of Sharmil Desai from Google+. Photo of Meseret Gebre courtesy of Gebre.

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