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INSEAD MBA’s Startup Changes How We Order Food

Tim Wekezer | October 16, 2018
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    INSEAD MBA’s Startup Changes How We Order Food
    Tim Wekezer

On today’s episode, a young man from Germany with a background in restaurants moves to Singapore to get an MBA, wins a pitch competition here and is so inspired he ditches a high paying finance job to make that pitch win, his life’s goal.

A lot of my friends, who are in their late 20s or early 30s ask themselves two questions, firstly, should I get an MBA? Is it worth the time and money, will an MBA give me a significant competitive edge? The second question is, what type of company should I start? One of the most popular types of startups is a marketplace. You can consider a marketplace to be any type of business where you need two sides of people to do business together, usually, one side is a group of merchants which you have to recruit usually in person manually, at least initially, and the other side a group of customers who you target through online ads. You’re facilitating the business between them on your platform, and anyone like me who’s had to build one, like Groupon, will tell you they’re one of the hardest types of businesses to get off the ground. One man is willing to commit yes to both questions. Yes, an MBA is good for an entrepreneur and yes, building a marketplace is tough, but worth it.

Introducing Tim, the Founder of Waitrr, he’s raised over a million dollars with his app that lets you order and pay with your mobile phone to removing one of the more annoying processes when you go to a restaurant. If you’re considering an MBA to further your career, or want to start a marketplace or an app in the restaurant industry, this podcast episode is for you.

Hear why an entrepreneur believes getting an MBA is useful if you want to be a better entrepreneur and how he went from INSEAD MBA grad, to building an F&B marketplace app after winning INSEAD’s prestigious startup pitch competition


Ten years ago, ordering food was pretty much a hassle…it was like how you remember it when you were a kid, if you wanted delivery, you’d have to call hours ahead, and only some restaurants would deliver.

And I say ten years ago because timing is everything. Ten years ago, you wouldn’t get into a strangers car, or you wouldn’t sleep in a stranger’s house instead of a hotel.

Tim was at INSEAD when he saw food delivery apps like foodpanda transform how food was delivered. He then thought, could an app change our experience when we order and pay for food in a restaurant?


That was Tim from Waitrr, check out his website at waitrr.com, he now covers around 200 restaurants in Singapore. It seems kind of obvious after that conversation that we should have the freedom to easily order food without having to wait or deal with staff. Call me a stickler but I don’t feel like I’m missing out on much when I don’t have to deal with wait staff, especially in Asia, where I’ve had menus thrown at me, been shouted at, or just been given death stares while I eat my food.

You got to admire a guy for passing on a really a lucrative finance job to follow his passion, after all, he came from a family of restaurateurs so he must have been thinking about how he can have a positive impact on the industry.

Also, bonus advice on how he handled building his app with an outsourced Vietnamese team and what it’s like being a new dad and how it’s changed the way he approaches entrepreneurship.

If you found any of the podcast helpful to your search for success, the biggest compliment you can pay is to share this podcast with your friends, colleagues or family. Maybe one of them is interested in entering the sustainability field, or one of them is trying to create a greater social impact. Tell one of your friends today about Ramen to riches.

More about Waitrr:

Waitrr is an ordering and payment application that creates a seamless and enjoyable dining experience for busy food lovers. Be it dine-in or take away, the application comes in handy. Precious time is usually spent waiting in line, making your order, waiting for the bill, you name it. With Waitrr, the orders are sent straight to the kitchen in seconds. It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

Once you download Waitrr, you immediately see the restaurants in your area. Those located nearest to will appear on the top of the list for your convenience. Waitrr with over 190 restaurants, with food from almost every cuisine. After selecting a restaurant of your choice, you will be led to a complete menu with pictures for you to browse. Once confirmed, you simply select ‘Add order’ and ‘Pickup Time’.  Alternatively, those who want to dine in can start browsing the menu and once they get seated, their orders can be placed. It just takes one QR code scan for the order to be sent straight to the kitchen.

Waitrr was founded by Tim Wekezer who studied an MBA programme at INSEAD Singapore. Having grown up in a family of restaurant owners, and holding a bachelor’s degree from the distinguished Hotelschool – The Hague, Tim has a deep understanding of restaurant operations and the guest experience. Holding an MBA in Finance, Tim’s resume could have easily landed him an opportunity in the field of finance. Instead, he took the bold decision to crack at something he was passionate about.

The idea came to Tim when he encountered a bad lunch experience here in Singapore, where he had to wait almost an hour just to get a waiter to send his order into the kitchen. Tim examined the solutions currently in place and found only tablet e-menus which were limited in function and very expensive. The timing was perfect to actualize this idea when he took the idea to an Insead Venture Competition and won first prize. All of the prize money went into kickstarting the development of the Waitrr app.

Validating the business model, Waitrr has received its early stage fundings from a crowdfunding community of Singaporean investors. To name a few, some of them include Andy Lim who is the Founder and chairman of private equity firm Tembusu Partners and Steve Kek, CEO of OMG Venture. Another source of funding was from Jisr Venture Partners, run by Albanawi and son Omar. They saw Waitrr’s strategic intent to improve automation and progress in the F&B sectors. Similarly, Toronto-based food ordering app Ritual raising  US$70M recently tells us that there is demand for our service, both on the consumer and investment side. Looking at the prospects for growth overseas, Ritual’s geographical growth tells us that Waitrr has a similar potential to disrupt the industry in Asia – as a leading player in the Singapore market.


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