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e@UBC Venture Case Studies: DRIVE

Published on Monday, July 13, 2015

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Increasing customer loyalty for restaurants

DRIVE is on a mission to bring big business technology to small and medium sized businesses (SMB). DRIVE tackles the common problem of customer retention for SMB’s using their customer analytics and management software.

 

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Dale Dubberley, CEO of DRIVE

Dale Dubberley started her entrepreneurial journey with a Vancouver-based restaurant chain called Thai Away, which she successfully ran and sold in 2013. From her experience as a restauranteur Dubberley realized her employees played a critical role in her profits and customer satisfaction. She also noticed most consumer-facing businesses didn’t have the ability to communicate effectively with their staff when managing their businesses and struggled to keep regular customers as a result.

Challenge

Seeing an opportunity, Dubberley started DRIVE and built a software product that allows businesses to receive direct feedback from customers through their employees and track real-time customer satisfaction. However, the challenge DRIVE still faced was figuring out how to sell software to consumer-facing businesses.

“When we started out, we knew we had a software solution but couldn’t pinpoint what was the most compelling problem we were solving and for whom,” she says. “We had a broad objective and knew what we wanted to achieve but couldn’t get the traction we needed to take it to the next level.”

Dubberley and her team joined the e@UBC Accelerator program to help solve this challenge and further develop their customer base.

Solution

The DRIVE team interviewed 20 customers over the first two weeks of the e@UBC Accelerator program and immediately noticed a pattern in their sales approach.

“We had two problems, one was that we were talking to the wrong people in organizations – we should have been focusing on CEO’s – and two, we didn’t know exactly what would motivate them to buy,” said Dubberley. “So we had to make a fundamental shift from a business intelligence company, to a customer retention company.”

After graduating from the e@UBC Accelerator program and working with e@UBC mentors DRIVE made a choice to focus solely on the restaurant market and leave other consumer-facing businesses, such as retail, for later. DRIVE also narrowed down their services to the essential components needed for their first customers in the restaurant industry, focusing on customer satisfaction and staff engagement.

Result

DRIVE now serves 12 restaurant locations and 8 retail locations in the lower mainland and has streamlined its marketing strategy to target restaurant CEO’s. In addition to working with e@UBC mentors, DRIVE has been working closely with BCTIA mentors to develop the restaurant market in Vancouver and establish key partnerships with industry organizations, such as the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association and its 3,000+ members.

“For years we have been approached by software developers with new products designed for the restaurant industry, most of which ignored staff participation, quality measurement and improvement. When I was introduced to the product features of DRIVE I was immediately interested in the product due to the powerful way it engages staff to drive customer satisfaction.” - Mark Roberts,  CEO, Luke’s Restaurants

DRIVE is also working with the BCTIA to scale their product into the larger US market and plans to join their new accelerator, HyperGrowth, in the near future.