Kieran Gibb’s ambitions extend beyond his marketing agency Monogic, having recently founded F&B platform dining.io. Kieran shares insights on his entrepreneurial journey co-founding Monogic and the future of tech-enabled marketing and dining solutions.
Entrepreneur Kieran Gibb embarked on a journey from the UK to Hong Kong where he met his business partner – and fiancee- Alexandra Leung. Recognising the reliance on traditional marketing in the Hong Kong food and beverage (F&B) industry during the pandemic, Kieran was motivated to address the lack of digital channels and support struggling restaurants.
In 2020, he co-founded Monogic with Alexandra, a leading agency and consultancy that specialises in providing digital marketing solutions for restaurants, bars, and food businesses. With a team of experienced specialists, Kieran and Alexandra have led over 80 brands’ successful campaigns. Monogic’s data-driven approach helps clients measure their marketing effectiveness and ROI. Passionate about the industry, Monogic’s team consists of former in-house marketing specialists from top F&B and restaurant groups.
Kieran’s most recent venture, dining.io, is dedicated to creating specialised technology solutions for restaurants. They understand the unique challenges faced by the industry and have built an all-in-one platform that combines reservation management, service optimisation, and point of sale (POS) systems. With a focus on reliability, flexibility, and ease of use, dining.io aims to empower restaurant owners with efficient and user-friendly technology.
Hive Life sat down with Kieran to dive into his entrepreneurial journey co-founding Monogic and the thrilling possibilities that await the world of tech-enabled marketing and dining solutions.
Can You Tell Us More About Your Professional Journey and How You Came to Work in F&B?
In 2018, I arrived in Hong Kong and met [Alexandra]. I had a temporary job but wanted to explore marketing. Alex had experience in social media and related areas, so I learned a lot from her and became interested in digital marketing.
Previously, I worked in data management, but when I left my temporary job, I was determined to pursue a marketing career and expand my knowledge in that field.
Eventually, I found a position at a B2B SaaS company where I was the only marketing personnel. I took on the challenge and learned everything I could. Meanwhile, Alex worked in the hospitality and food industry, helping restaurants. However, the industry faced difficulties in 2020 due to the pandemic. Alex wanted to make a bigger impact and help the industry as a whole, so we started a new venture together.
Combining my data background with working on visual products, we founded Monogic. Our goal is to bring a fresh perspective to food and beverage marketing, leveraging my data analysis experience to understand how customers discover and engage with products in the industry.
How Does Monogic Help Restaurants Improve Their Digital Presence and Operations?
This success story is one of our most notable. It started as one of our earliest projects and continues to be a valued partnership, even after three years. When we joined forces, the establishment had been operating for four or five years but faced challenges with low bookings and struggling business. The chef decided to start fresh by forming a new team and revitalising the entire place.
Now, after eight years of operation, the restaurant has surpassed all expectations. The transformation has been remarkable, and the establishment is thriving like never before. What makes this project significant is that within the first six months of collaboration, we were able to double their previous revenue levels.
This achievement serves as a testament to our capabilities and is an outstanding case study in our portfolio.
Why is Leveraging Technology and Digital Solutions Important for F&B Businesses?
When we began our company, I noticed a lack of technology and digital solutions in the F&B industry. Instead of using data and insights, many businesses rely on intuition and follow a standard approach, [which] lacks measurable analysis.
Technology and digital innovation play a crucial role in the F&B industry, enhancing efficiency and precision. Digital platforms have empowered businesses to target specific demographics accurately, gathering valuable data on consumer behaviour. This data-driven approach enables focused marketing efforts, maximising the impact of allocated budgets.
Technological advancements have also revolutionised areas beyond marketing. Digitisation of the supply chain streamlines operations, reducing food waste and optimising efficiency. With thin profit margins, embracing technology is crucial for control and addressing food waste. The F&B industry must recognise and seize the potential of technology to effectively tackle challenges and embrace opportunities for transformation.
How Does dining.io Utilise Technology to Streamline Restaurant Operations?
Dining.io is an upcoming platform that aims to revolutionise the F&B industry by utilising technology to optimise restaurant operations. It collects customer behaviour data and creates comprehensive profiles based on their previous visits to any restaurant within the system. This enables the service team to understand each customer’s preferences, expectations, and specific needs upon arrival.
By leveraging this information, [a restaurants’s] team provides highly personalised experiences, including suitable recommendations, portion adjustments, and dietary accommodations. Dining.io emphasises enhancing the dining experience through data-driven insights and technology, while maintaining a human touch. The platform also offers valuable business insights, allowing owners to compare their performance with similar establishments and identify areas for improvement and revenue growth.
What Challenges Have You Faced as an Entrepreneur in the F&B Industry, Particularly in Terms of Integrating Technology and Digital Solutions?
The main challenge is that most businesses are reluctant to adopt new technologies due to a knowledge gap, fear, and uncertainty. Many business owners prefer traditional methods and lack familiarity with digital solutions, making integration difficult.
Monogic solves this problem by acting as a solution provider. We handle all technological aspects, relieving business owners of the burden. With Monogic, entrepreneurs don’t need to understand or implement technology themselves. Our platform seamlessly integrates digital solutions into workflows, enabling businesses to concentrate on other crucial aspects of running their establishments.
How Do You See the Role of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Evolving in the F&B Industry?
While human interaction remains crucial in the F&B industry, robots are unlikely to replace humans entirely. However, generative AI tools offer exciting possibilities. For example, businesses can use generative AI to create cost-effective menu photos for social media and other platforms, reducing photography expenses while still producing appealing content.
AI also finds applications in chat systems on websites, enabling direct communication with customers. These systems serve as booking platforms or provide assistance, aligning with the conversational nature of customer interactions. Many businesses are incorporating AI or similar technologies into their chat systems to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
AI and ML will enhance specific aspects of the F&B industry, but human involvement will likely remain essential. These technologies should be utilised to optimise efficiency and cost-effectiveness in relevant areas.
What Types of Restaurants or F&B Establishments Can Benefit the Most From dining.io?
Dining.io aims to bring value to all users. Customers can enjoy better service, and restaurants can improve their service quality to build customer loyalty. This leads to repeat customers, which is crucial for long-term business success. Additionally, business owners can use dining.io to identify popular dishes and increase revenue.
Although dining.io caters to various restaurant types, its features are especially advantageous for high-end establishments. The tool’s main goal is to provide exceptional service and create memorable experiences for customers in premium dining settings.
How Does dining.io Enhance the Dining Experience for Both Customers and Restaurant Staff?
Dining.io focuses on personalised service and leveraging behavioural information. This means that the service teams have a deep understanding of individual preferences and can tailor the dining experience accordingly. They strive to provide what each customer desires, whether it’s specific likes or recommendations.
This approach ultimately helps in fostering a better dining experience for everyone involved, enhancing customer satisfaction and enabling restaurant staff to provide the highest level of service.
How Does dining.io Ensure the Security and Privacy of the Information it Handles?
All data is stored in a secure central repository, similar to a data bank. This central bank ensures that information is organised and readily available when needed.
To prevent instances where restaurants could directly access customer information, a two-factor authentication process is implemented. When someone wants to access customer data, they need to provide an SMS confirmation. This means that if I want to view my own information, for example, I would have to physically go to the location and enter a unique code that I received online.
This authentication process serves as a safeguard against unauthorised access and prevents indiscriminate searching of customer data. However, it does allow controlled access to specific transaction details, such as key reservation information and suggestions based on previous transactions.
What Are Your Long-Term Goals for Monogic and dining.io?
Monogic is currently expanding its presence overseas, specifically in Singapore, where it is making steady progress. Monogic is also actively pursuing opportunities in Southeast Asia, particularly in the Philippines.
As for dining.io, [we aim] to establish a strong presence in Asian markets and are currently in the testing phase in Hong Kong. Once dining.io achieves a certain concentration and success in Asian markets, we plan to expand internationally and operate overseas as well.
Are There Any Exciting Developments or Upcoming Projects in the Near Future for Monogic?
Certainly! Regarding Monogic, we have some exciting developments in the pipeline, particularly in expanding our operations beyond Hong Kong and venturing into overseas and regional projects. We are thrilled about the opportunities this expansion brings and the potential to bring the unique Monogic experience to new markets. Stay tuned for updates on our upcoming projects and the incredible dining experiences we have in store for you!
Featured banner image credit: @monogic