By: Lloyed Lobo
As someone who enjoys takeout, I find it challenging to access the best options nearby. While there are existing solutions, I haven’t found one specific to Calgary and Googling is time consuming.
So I was delighted when I recently came across Takeout King, a comprehensive menu directory with over 600 restaurants in Calgary, right on your smartphone. It allows you to search by current location, cuisine type or restaurant name.
The app features menus from downtown all the way to the furthest suburbs in all four quadrants of the city. It also allows users to rate and review restaurants so it is a great way to find new places to eat. By having all the menus available on your phone, there is no need to keep multiple paper menus or try to search on the web, especially since there are many great neighbourhood spots that do not post their menus online.
I just caught up with the founder, Kiran Sthankiya, to learn more.
How did you come up with the idea for your startup? Was there an “ah-ha” moment?
I would always be looking for takeout options nearby and could never find more than a couple choices available even though I knew there were many restaurants near me that I did not have the menu for. I also got tired of trying to keep a collection of paper menus. In this day and age, everything is available online so I thought there was no reason why menus couldn’t be available online as well.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
Getting the word out so that the user base can continue to grow.
Are there any key individuals outside of your organization that have been of great help to your startup?
Hard work and perseverance helped me get to where I am. I visited most, if not all, of the restaurants on the app to physically get a menu from them as many places did not have menus online. It was a time consuming process, especially considering the size of this city, but it was worth it in the end.
What’s new with your startup that we can share?
An Android version is in the works and will be out later this year.
Personally, do you think it is more difficult to raise capital or find the right talent?
Finding the talent was easy. There are many great places to hire talent from all over the world and it’s easy to find talent at various skill levels and budgets just by looking online. Takeout King has been completely self-funded so raising capital has been the biggest challenge.
What has contributed to your success to this point?
I think that it’s easy to get overwhelmed when starting a new venture so being able to break down the workload into smaller pieces has definitely helped as far as maintaining focus and not getting frustrated. Listening to people’s input is important too. While you may not necessarily agree with, or use their advice, having a different set of eyes or a different viewpoint on the project is a great tool to find ways to improve the product or gain insight on how to be better.
What made you choose to go down the path of entrepreneurship?
I have always been interested in entrepreneurship. It was just a matter of finding an idea that I would be passionate about. My goal has always been to work for myself. Even though being an entrepreneur comes with more work and responsibility than working a regular job, I find the challenge both exciting and interesting.
What are your thoughts on Calgary’s startup community?
Calgary has some key strengths for startups because it is a very business-minded city with a young, educated population that is driven to succeed.
What’s your ask right now?
I have some great ideas to expand Takeout King so I am looking for capital investment as well as partners who have expertise in growing online businesses.
Lloyed Lobo covers Calgary’s tech startup community. He is a Partner at Boast Capital and the VP of Community Evangelism at Startup Calgary.
This interview was originally published by Startup Calgary, a non-profit organization focused on cultivating the tech startup community in Calgary. For more information, visit startupcalgary.ca.
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