Mimu taps into post-pandemic venues

22/07/2020 - 09:00

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The future for contactless ordering app Mimu seemed bright when director and co-founder Andrew Jones spoke with Business News in February.

Andrew Jones believes COVID-19 has accelerated venues’ plans to embrace contactless ordering apps. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

The future for contactless ordering app Mimu seemed bright when director and co-founder Andrew Jones spoke with Business News in February.

Having come to market with an app that enabled restaurant and bar patrons to remain seated while they ordered food and drinks, Mr Jones had set an ambitious target of having Mimu used in 350 venues across Australia by 2022.

Becoming a preferred supplier of the Australian Hotels Association WA earlier this year had helped achieve that goal.

However, as COVID-19 stalled the hospitality sector, Mimu was forced to pivot quickly to seize the moment.

“We invested more money into the app and developed it to accommodate takeaway and delivery services in the same app,” Mr Jones told Business News.

“That was to help venues to find a way through the pandemic to keep their doors open and staff on board, one way or another.”

While those temporary arrangements sufficed, Mr Jones insists opportunities for Mimu are emerging on the other side of COVID-19.

“When we launched, our first catchphrase was ‘Skip the Queue’,” he said.

“It was all about how you can use Mimu, and you don’t have to queue up at the bar and order your drinks and food.

“As we move through COVID-19, the focus is all about the fact Mimu is completely contactless ordering and contactless payment, and that seems to be the bigger need from consumers and venues.

“It’s fallen in our lap a little; the virus is forcing venues to look at their consumers differently, and that’s what we’re now facilitating.”

Notwithstanding an uptick in inquiries as restrictions have eased in recent months, Mr Jones said interest in the app had grown internationally, because of the continued need for social distancing protocols.

He noted particular interest for the app in the UK, where Mr Jones is bullish about getting Mimu into 1,000 venues after launching there later this month.

“We’ll actually open in the UK with more venues in one suburb in the UK than we’ve got in the whole of Australia,” he said.

“There are differences across the country, across venues, and within states as to how they’re feeling and what the future looks like, and whether there’s desperate or gradual need for that platform.

“There is absolutely more of an appetite for this sort of a service in the UK … because of the pandemic.”

Elsewhere, prospects for the app in Australia have returned to where they were at the start of the year.

Besides partnering with AHA WA, Mr Jones said the app had established a nationwide presence, with venues in Queensland now using the app.

Discussions with the Victorian branch of the Australian Liquor Marketers will also help Mimu’s expansion into about 150 venues in that state.

Mr Jones noted that though the pandemic had increased demand for apps like Mimu, the shift towards contactless ordering had been a long time coming.

“It’s difficult for venues right now because the goal posts have changed continually and it’s hard to understand what your business can look like,” he said.

“Can you open your doors? Can you trade to what you were doing previously?

“This (contactless ordering) was always going to be the direction (that the public) moved, it’s just that the virus is bringing it to light quicker, and venues are starting to move this option up in their priority list.”

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