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Dublin: 8°C Tuesday 24 May 2022

'We're helping places to stay open': How this tech startup is backing local shops through Covid-19

Q-Kangaroo is a mobile ordering app for food.

Tim Murphy, Jamie McGivern and Will Kelly of Q-Kangaroo
Tim Murphy, Jamie McGivern and Will Kelly of Q-Kangaroo
Image: Q-Kangaroo

“ALL OF US on the team decided that we weren’t just going to close the business for a couple of months and wait it out.”

When Covid-19 arrived in Ireland last March, businesses around the country were faced with a situation they hadn’t encountered before. Some businesses had to close, others could stay open, while others had to adapt their model to survive.

For the team at Q-Kangaroo, which is based in Dundalk and was founded in late 2018, they made the decision to use their mobile ordering platform to support local businesses in need of help.

Jamie McGivern, Marketing Project Manager at the company, explained how it works: “Q-Kangaroo is a mobile ordering app for food and drink, local restaurants, cafes, takeaways, fresh food producers and niche products.

“Basically what it does is it allows customers to order food and pay ahead through the app for a time that suits them to pick it up or have it delivered to them. We also have an option that we developed before Covid hit where people can book a table, book the food, have it all paid for and just walk into a restaurant or cafe and the food is put in front of them.”

The whole idea is that you’re saving people time and you save yourself time by using the app. It’s just pure convenience.

With coronavirus changing the way in which we buy food – whether that’s a sandwich to-go from a cafe for lunch or meat from a butcher’s for dinner – the team at Q-Kangaroo realised they could expand their offering even further.

QK Image 2 Source: Q-Kangaroo

“We knew we had a product that would work for these local businesses,” says Jamie. “We basically decided that we were going to offer our services completely free for a number of weeks for them, so they could try it out, see if they like it and if it suits for their business. Because we just knew it was better to let the businesses try it out, see how it fits in and to keep them open as well at the same time.

Covid allowed us to realise that our product can walk into the likes of say a butcher’s or a fishmonger’s. So we reached out to a couple of businesses around Dundalk and they came on to try it out. It worked brilliantly for them.

“They found great use out of the app because the customers have already picked and paid for exactly what they want, the staff pack it up for them and the customer comes in, skips the queue, picks it up and they’re away.”

Now, Q-Kangaroo has expanded beyond Dundalk to locations including Drogheda, Navan, Malahide, Newry, Armagh, Banbridge, Sligo and Galway.

With the business growing rapidly, the team knew they had to upgrade their tech offering. This is an area where Vodafone was more than happy to help. 

“We initially gave stores a tablet and a printer for orders to come in. But then we realised we needed a device that has both, and we now have a little small device that can also print out orders as they come in, so it saves space. However, we realised what we really needed for that was SIM cards so we could have data connection, and that the tablet itself would never drop out or have to connect to WiFi, so that’s where Vodafone came in with their SIM cards.

QK Image 3 Source: Q-Kangaroo

“All of our hardware, when it goes to a store, is given a SIM card for a 4G connection. So for us it was a massive thing to have that connection, to have the constant internet connection thanks to Vodafone.”

As for the company’s plans for 2021, the hope is to continue growing across Ireland – and beyond.  

“We’re going to be nationwide by the end of this year and then will be able to go into mainland Europe and England,” says Jamie. “That’s our goal. Because we have a unique wallet system within our app, you can switch between currencies. 

“Our costs, our commission fees are a fraction of the fees compared other larger, global apps who provide the same service. Our mission is to reduce fees continually.

“We’re trying to do our part as well to keep people shopping local when they can. Every month for the past three months we’ve been running and funding discount campaigns for our retailers.”

Are you part of a small or medium-sized business? For technology as resilient as you, talk to Vodafone Business about our range of solutions. Visit Vodafone.ie/business to find out more.

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