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This month’s fampreneurs are no strangers to overcoming big challenges. Back in 2000 Florin and Carolyn Mandache met while on a holiday in Spain and together they have successfully conquered the obstacles of immigration and the difficulties of their many cultural differences to forge a bond that has grown even stronger with marriage, children and now a business partnership.
In fact, it was during a romantic meal for two last May that the couple first developed the idea that has now become the focus of their business.
Carolyn says, "We were very 'hangry' because we'd placed our food order and the restaurant was being very slow in getting the food to us. As well as dulling the mood of the meal we began considering how much better it would be if we could pre-order our food before arriving and close the time between sitting and dining."
Of course, this was just a whim, so the couple then undertook some market research to see if diners would be interested in an app that did this and determine whether restaurants were willing and able to take pre-orders for food. The results of the research indicated that there was an appetite for the idea.
Their company, Migsoft Ltd. has been incorporated since 2015, offering software development and consultancy, but the main priority is now the app.
Florin says, "This was not our first foray as fampreneurs but we felt far more confident of success this time around as the children were much older (between 8 and 12) and so we had more time to devote to making the business work."
Florin's work background is in IT, before becoming a fampreneur he worked as an IT manager and developed his skills to become a high-end programmer. Carolyn is an English graduate from Strathclyde University who has also trained in Graphic Design.
The early stages of the business' development capitalised on their skillset. Time was devoted to market research, product development and securing partners in the catering arena that would ensure the app was well populated in time for the launch.
The brand name, Time2Dine was chosen, logos were created and together the couple began to build a latent market in advance of launch by creating a presence on social media.
The couple successfully pitched to join the Entrepreneurial Spark business accelerator in Glasgow in August 2016. "This has been an invaluable asset," Carolyn says, "We get incredible business support and advice from the team, it has enabled the app. to develop very quickly and arrive at the live testing phase; it is currently being tested in Wild Cabaret, a well-known Glasgow venue."
Testing will continue until the fampreneurs are completely satisfied Time2Dine provides an excellent service to both restaurant subscribers and users.
In addition, market development is on-going. Florin has been invited to speak at Restaurant Tech Live in September (London) and Restaurant and Takeaway Business Live (Glasgow) in November - both demonstrating the recognition of the innovation time2dine will bring to modern day dining out.
Time2Dine will launch initially in Glasgow, the couple's hometown, with the rest of the UK to follow soon after. The team aims to grow and expand internationally within the next few years.
Florin adds, "The world of apps moves very quickly and so securing substantial investment through an accelerator gives us the capacity to develop, launch and expand at a rate we simply couldn't have managed had we funded it ourselves. As well as working in the UK our business pipeline includes business in Spain so we're understandably proud of all we've managed so far."
The couple's idea - to shorten the time for ordering is being welcomed by diners in a rush and restaurants who'd like a quicker turnaround on tables. It really is a win-win app for both parties, not a disruptive technology that re-jigs a market but one that streamlines an established process. And in addition, as fampreneurs, it means the Mandaches have more time as a family.
"Being able to suit our hours around family commitments is a huge advantage" says Carolyn, "We've been able to travel and experience other cultures without the holiday restrictions of a 9-5 job. Plus we make more family mealtimes than the typical working couple with kids, because taking time to dine is just as important as saving it!"
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