Get to know Lemon - Techstars Sustainability Paris Accelerator

Nov 28, 2023

Panji Agustian (CEO) | Alexandre Bonzi (CTO)

Lemon transforms how restaurants operate by consolidating their core operations into a single app. Their customers benefit from QR code technology for ordering and payment, eliminating the need for paper in order processing and receipts, and significantly reducing wait times. This transition improves speed, eco-friendliness, and overall efficiency.

1.   Describe the problem/the industry that you are trying to mediate (and precise the UN SDG-s you are solving).

In the thriving global food industry, dining habits vary significantly. Europeans typically enjoy eating out 12-24 times annually, while in Indonesia, it's a daily occurrence, totaling over 700 times a year and constituting a substantial €48 billion market. However, a significant challenge persists—outdated restaurant software. Many establishments still rely on paper-based systems for managing orders, contributing to significant carbon emissions.

Our digital platform provides a comprehensive solution to the challenges posed by outdated restaurant processes. Customers can effortlessly place orders through a QR code, and our restaurant app seamlessly oversees the entire order preparation process—from order validation and kitchen assignment to the receipt. This ensures customers enjoy a swift, easy, and convenient experience in the restaurant. The platform's paperless operation throughout the entire process significantly diminishes environmental impact.

Beyond its environmental benefits, our platform serves as a catalyst for restaurants to cultivate meaningful relationships with customers. It enables a deep understanding of customer preferences, spending patterns, and behaviors. Simultaneously, the platform provides valuable insights into employee productivity.

In summary, our innovative digital platform not only streamlines operational efficiency but also fosters sustainable practices, customer engagement, and informed decision-making for restaurant businesses.

Our solution aligns with three key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable cities and communities

  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

By digitizing restaurants core business, we contribute to building sustainable communities, promoting responsible consumption, and taking decisive action against climate change.

2.   How did the idea to create the company come to mind? How did your team come to be?

Our co-founders met during their studies at Grenoble Ecole de Management in France and spent a significant amount of time working in coffee shops. During peak time, they often faced delays of around 15 minutes just to place an order and another 15 minutes to pay. Additionally, they accumulated an excess of paper receipts, most of which were printed unnecessarily by default. Upon further investigation, they discovered that most restaurant software is outdated and inefficient. This realization prompted them to explore the creation of an eco-friendly restaurant solution.

In the summer of 2023, Julianda, formerly the Business Manager of GoFood from GoTo Group, joined Lemon with the goal of bringing the platform to Indonesia—a market with consumption rates 30 times higher than those in Europe. After meeting with 100 restaurant owners, half of them eagerly agreed to join the trial. Encountering unexpected demand, Lemon's development commenced, and we are currently on track to deliver the first version of Lemon to our carefully selected beta testers.

3.   Why did you choose to participate in the Paris Techstars accelerator program? What are you looking forward to the most?

Techstars is not just a program for us; it is a home, and Techstars Paris, being the sustainability hub, has been an invaluable source of inspiration for our advancement. Despite being one of the youngest startups in the program, we were accepted and received support from day one. The mentorship program at Techstars is unparalleled, and it is due to our lead mentors at Techstars that we have been able to accelerate our growth quickly and efficiently.

4.   What are you the most proud of in your initial journey with your company?

Lemon started in the summer of 2023 with a Figma prototype consisting of just two screens. We took a hands-on approach, engaging with restaurant owners directly, and within the first two weeks, we secured agreements with 50 restaurants. Presently we have 130 signed-up restaurants including two chain establishments with more than 30 branches and are bringing in around 1.4 new restaurants daily. Our pipeline includes approximately 40,000 restaurants in Indonesia, ranging from cafés, full-service restaurants, food courts, hotels, and events. The industry's receptiveness to adopting eco-friendly software is evident, driven by the dual benefits of cost reduction for restaurants and an enhanced customer experience.

5.   How do you plan to measure the positive impact of your company in the next 5 years?

We are deeply involved in the day-to-day operations of restaurants, where millions of Indonesians interact regularly. Our solution is flexible, catering to both small corner restaurants and large chains. This adaptability gives us the potential to make a significant impact. Our initial focus is on fostering sustainability in restaurant businesses by getting rid of paper for order processing and receipts. This step aims to simplify operations and contribute to a more environmentally friendly industry.

Through a unified platform for their core business, restaurants can efficiently manage stocks based on customer demand and behavior, significantly cutting down on food waste. As a key milestone, we also aim to develop a customer app allowing users to collect unsold goods that would otherwise be discarded.

Our objective is not to position ourselves as the sustainable alternative to a major industry player. We avoid proposing radical changes that have proven ineffective. Instead, we offer a practical tool for restaurants to manage their business sustainably. We firmly believe that by addressing their core business needs, we can guide them towards more sustainable practices, positioning ourselves ahead of developments in Indonesian government policies.

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