3 Questions with Zaedo Musa, Founder & CEO of Superb
In June, Kinnevik announced that the company had led the EUR 12m Series A funding round in Superb, the first all-in-one Guest Experience Management platform for restaurants. We sat down to speak to Zaedo Musa, the Founder & CEO of Superb to get to know the business and category better.
You pioneered the category Guest Experience Management in 2017. How can data and personalisation help restaurants?
I was part of the early days of building up Joe & the Juice. Then, I saw that the driver for growth was remembering people: what they would eat, drink, how often they would come in. Even down to remembering names of their kids. I realised that customer experience was essential for making people come back and a key thing I noticed in that role was the willingness to collect a lot of information about people for the benefit of their experience.
But the tools that the industry tends to use are super fragmented and not integrated and data is not democratic in restaurants. Often, it is the chefs who remember who the customers are, eat, drink when they were here last time. We kept thinking “what if that person was gone the day you came for the 10th time? You’d not have as a great an experience as you normally do and not come back.”
When I left the company, I had this obsession: why is there no CRM system for the hospitality industry? It was probably the first industry that started to collect information about guests, however basic, to provide a great experience.
This brought me to the conclusion that the world needed a new approach, a new ecosystem. And that is our vision: to change how people work and to make the experience really matter. That was the foundation for GXM as a category. It is like CRM category but built for the hospitality industry.
I had this obsession: why is there no CRM system for the hospitality industry? It was probably the first industry that started to collect information about guests, however basic, to provide a great experience.
How is Superb’s solutions better than existing services?
We change the user experience of going to a restaurant, starting online. Superb is radically different than others. We’re not just building software to compete through a better point-of-sale system. Rather, we see ourselves as a data company. We want to put the power of information and data into hands of restaurant teams to personalise the experience for each guest.
Existing solutions is often focused on building heavy software and solving complex back- or front-end issues like supply chain management. We have a different approach and in our platform today we have more or less covered every touchpoint the guest has with the restaurant.
And that was part of our thesis: Why has the restaurant segment historically been underserved by software providers up until recently?
In the market today you have unicorns coming out of the US like Square, Toast and Open table. But you need to be locally present in local languages to grow which is hard but can pay off. It is the reason why the European market is very much influenced by local, simple solutions that don’t have the economies of scale since they build a very homogeneous product that doesn’t provide value for the restaurant – it doesn’t have the ability to grow their customers’ business, and the customers’ view it as “just another booking/point-of-sales/terminal system”.
What type of restaurants use Superb’s solutions today? Tomorrow?
Today we cater to the mid- to high end of restaurants as part of our strategy to acknowledge the category and establish the segment, to then grow down-market.
Currently, we are present in twelve markets and we are probably one of the largest platforms within this segment in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Italy – our core markets – where we work with the top tier restaurants.
This is a relationship-focused segment with dynamics that makes word of mouth extremely important. In the first year of Superb, organic traffic was our main lead source and should not be underestimated. We saw that by building a strong relationship with the top tier of the market, they will spread the word, both on an international and regional level. And by exciting the top end of the market they will make the category happen and acknowledge us as the owner of the experience.
This is also the driver for our vision and growth. When we want to open up new markets, we reach out to our existing customer base.
The hospitality industry was of course hit extremely hard by the pandemic, as were we. But we saw other local players cutting down staff and packing up. Instead of doing so, we used this time to build – and we have grown by over 100 percent since lockdown and have doubled our staff.
Because one thing I remembered from the financial crisis of 2008 was that the fist industry to recover was this one. We all have a need to go out, travel again. That is the reaction we are seeing now, and our ambition is to add around another 1000 restaurants to our customer base this year alone, despite the pandemic.