Cloud-based points of sales are a fast-growing technology, the global market was valued at $72.28 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $116.27 billion in 2026.
Modelled after the US, market leaders, Toast —Orda is arguably the first bottom-up software provider for restaurants built by an African team. The startup’s cloud-based solution factors are peculiarities unique to the market; for instance, their ePos has the ability to operate in remote areas with little to no internet coverage.
To drive its efforts to digitise the food business across the continent, the African restaurant cloud operating system provider, Orda has secured a $3.4 million seed round which was co-led by Quona Capital and FinTech Collective.
"Digitizing the long tail of restaurants across the continent presents an opportunity to tap into Africa’s largest consumer spend category. Not only does Orda's omnichannel solution produce immediate efficiency gains for restaurants, but a roadmap encompassing embedded payments and credit also creates a path to tap into the flow of funds throughout an enormous food and beverage industry," Samatha Wulfson, an Investor at FinTech Collective, said in a statement shared with Benjamindada.com.
Founded by Guy Futi, Fikayo Akinwale, Mark Edomwande, Kunle Ogungbamila, and Namir El-Khouri in 2020, Orda"s vision is to help small-sized African restaurants optimize their business and achieve sustainable growth.
In January 2022, the company announced a $1.1 million pre-seed. Since then, Orda has grown its customer base to more than 600 restaurants across Nigeria and Kenya and is now processing over 500% more weekly orders for its customers. This growth, the company says, is due to an obsession with helping small and medium-sized restaurants run their businesses better.
"From day one, Orda has been focused on building solutions for small and medium-sized restaurants. These businesses operate with slim profit margins and the power of Orda’s software and financial solutions can catapult their business. Our goal is to provide end-to-end solutions that help them optimize their operations so they become more prosperous," according to Guy Futi, Orda's CEO and co-founder.
Building an OS for small and medium-sized African restaurants
Small independent restaurants are the soul of Africa’s food service industry, representing the largest segment of the $50 billion industry. However, these restaurants have had limited access to technology solutions tailored to their needs.
Before Orda, managers at these small restaurants, who often double as cooks, spent as many as four hours a day doing manual reconciliation, inventory management, and other administrative tasks. Now, through its products, Orda is enabling many African restaurants to optimize their business operations and scale distribution.
Its array of products and services includes kitchen display systems, order and inventory management, integrations with the leading food aggregators (e.g. Glovo, Bolt Food, Chowdeck, Jise, Wabi2b, etc), accounting software, microsites, mobile apps and—soon to come—lending. Even better, when restaurants use these products, Orda provides them with advanced business analytics that informs them of customer behaviour, which in turn helps with inventory optimization and loss prevention.
"[Before], we couldn’t keep count [of inventory and orders] because we were not that organized. With Orda, we can now keep everything in an account. We know everything that goes out through [pick-up] orders and delivery. We don’t need to hire more employees than necessary and that has made us more profitable," Modupe Alimi, the manager at Korede Spaghetti, a popular restaurant with branches in Yaba and Surulere areas of Lagos, said.
Building solutions for African restaurants have required certain considerations specific to the region. For example, despite being a primarily cloud-based solution, Orda’s application works offline allowing restaurants to continue to log data even when internet access is unavailable — the data syncs with the cloud application when the restaurant is back online. The cloud operating software has also been built to have maximum functionality even when there is spotty internet service.
According to Kofoworola Agbaje, a Senior Investment Associate at Quona Capital:
“When a restaurant owner moves from pen and paper to a fully automated digital platform, it’s incredibly empowering,” said Agbaje. “Suddenly they have insights available to them that can improve their productivity and margins, enabling them to grow their businesses. A solution like Orda can have an outsized impact on small and medium-sized restaurants and the livelihoods of those who operate them, and we at Quona are delighted to support Orda in this important work.”
What's next? Product-market fit and expansion
Following the progress in the last 12 months, Orda believes it has hit product-market fit, evidenced by the rapid rate of adoption, rising referrals, and increasing ease of onboarding new restaurants.
"We have a huge backlog of restaurants to onboard and we’re confident of reaching 1,000 active restaurants within the next three months. Our vendors love our solution and we do a good job of listening to feedback and incorporating that into the new features we roll out. We do our very best to always centre the restaurant’s experience at the heart of our operations," Afua Ahwoi, Head of Operations at Orda, said.
With the recently completed fundraise, Orda has vertical expansion in sight, as it looks to improve its payments, credit and lending solutions, helping customers unlock even more value from their businesses.
"Focusing solely on restaurants has given us deeper insights into how they are run and what their financial behaviour is. We believe we can accurately predict when a restaurant needs a cash injection or a small loan and are looking to work with partners who can provide those services," Futi added.