There are over 647,000 restaurants in the United States as of 2018. Operating a restaurant is a demanding and tough business. If you know anyone that does, the owner of the restaurant is usually the bookkeeper as well.
How does a busy restaurant owner keep track of his/her cash flow and make informed financial decisions? Meet Dataurant, the SaaS company that’s automating your POS (Point of Sale) to QuickBooks, saving restaurant owners and managers time and money while enabling operators to understand the profitability of their restaurants.
We sat down with Founder and Owner Alexander Per to discuss Dataurant, how it came about, and some of the exciting developments on the horizon for the company.
Tell us about yourself:
Alex: My background is in big data analytics, and I’ve helped to start companies in cybersecurity, commercial real estate, telecommunications, and the smart grid. I have degrees in Math and Economics, so I come from a more scientific background.
How did Dataurant come to be? What was the motivation?
Alex: My father owns a small accounting firm in Maryland. Since I can remember, my father exposed me to the challenges restaurant owners cared about.
I started Dataurant 5.5 years ago as a data analytics firm for restaurants. Through my dad’s accounting firm, I saw that restaurant operators had a problem with manual data entry. My father had a team of people that manually entered the data for the restaurants into QuickBooks.
I tried to streamline that process and wrote the original code for POS Link, which became Dataurant’s flagship product.
I put the product online, and experienced higher demand than I expected. It took me 3 months to figure out that the product had viability. I got accepted into the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship Incubator program, and received mentorship and guidance to expand. I launched the product 6 months later to the QuickBooks app store.
How can Dataurant help restaurants?
Alex: Restaurants save about $10,000 per year and over 300 hours per year on average of bookkeeping time. Also, their books are always up-to-date, which can now give operators the ability to determine their true cash position. You now know how much money the restaurant actually has, in a quick and easy way.
Our team also created managerial reports for operators and managers to show them where they should spend most of their time to improve their operations.
What has been the biggest hurdle so far?
Alex: The biggest hurdle so far has been making the product work. It was a big tech challenge to gather and register sales transaction data i.e. receipts, and automate the process of inputting the data into QuickBooks.
That’s why it has taken some time for the company to get off the ground.
Why the move to MakeOffices?
Alex: I needed space closer to my home in Bethesda. Our team wasted a lot of time commuting into downtown Washington, DC.
Why did you choose MakeOffices?
Alex: One of my teammates compared all of the coworking spaces, and created a checklist of things that were important to us when choosing a coworking space. The top decision factors were price, turnkey solution with no upcharging for additional services, community events to network and have fun. In the end, the keg and free beer was the deciding factor.
The MakeOffices Bethesda location is great, and it’s close to a bunch of restaurants.
Hospitality was another factor. Working in the hospitality industry, our company needed a space with a hospitality mentality. The community managers do a great job of meeting our clients when they walk through the door.
What’s your favorite part of being a member at MakeOffices?
Alex: The other members and the desirable location. I also like that I can work out of any MakeOffices location, which has saved me time commuting in DC rush hour traffic.
Do you have a morning routine?
Alex: I have a light breakfast, shake to go, and get to the office as quickly possible to beat rush hour traffic. I’m usually in the office by 7:00 A.M. I review my notes from the previous day, read all missed emails, and then schedule the daily agenda.
What’s on the playlist right now?
Alex: Ludovico Einaudi
What’s next for Dataurant?
Alex: We’re growing rapidly. I’m trying to add at least 5 people by the end of 2018 in sales and marketing.