Secrets of Success: Maxwell Harding, CEO and Founder of Dynamify 

Taking consumer understanding to the next level to streamline processes for the catering industry.

Maxwell Harding has always been a firm believer in making systems work smoother. Creating Dynamify has done just that for the catering industry across forecasting, inventory and reducing waste for businesses.

Dynamify software’s AI capabilities captures and stores useful insights into customer behaviours, including predictions of each customer’s lifetime value, using machine learning. It also allows for well thought out, yet easily executed targeted marketing campaigns. Maxwell shares his Secrets of Success with Business Matters.

How does Dynamify work?

Dynamify provides a complete digital ordering platform, white-labelled by contact caterers who use the software in their ‘off-the-high-street’ restaurants. Our technology makes it easy for customers to browse menus, customise meal options, view allergens, order, pre-pay, and schedule contactless collection times. It’s a plug-and-play solution that’s bespoke to each client, white labelled, the unique client-branded app allows users to earn loyalty points, receive exclusive offers and claim discounts. 

What type of businesses do you work with?

We work with global contact caterers, including the likes of Sodexo, Elior, Atalian, Gather & Gather, Bartlett Mitchell, Vacherin, The Good Eating Company, Foodee, Baxter Storey and Fooditude. Our clients service hundreds of ‘off-the-high-street’ restaurants across eight countries. 

They have rolled out Dynamify’s technology into offices and manufacturing sites, schools and universities, venues and stadiums, airport lounges and hospitals, as well as to some of the big pharma companies involved in developing the Covid-19 vaccines. This summer, we launched our QR code technology in Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouse Lounge at Heathrow Airport.

What problem does Dynamify solve? 

For users, it saves time; with the pre-order and pay solutions the Dynamify app typically reduces checkout wait times by 95 per cent, so staff can reclaim their lunch breaks. 

For clients, Dynamify captures and analyses data in a way operators just can’t; the software’s dashboard solves challenges faced by both catering operations teams and back-office users, who can use the vast consumer data available for business intelligence. 

The software is helping to make catering operations safer for everyone, by cutting down on touchpoints, eliminating queues and encouraging social distancing. We’ve heard from clients  that the app has resulted in a more confident return to the office and onsite catering facilities.

What is your USP? 

Dynamify is at the forefront of digitising the £220bn catering industry – where less than one per cent of transactions currently take place online. Our seamless, contactless ordering and payment platform is convenient, safe and cost-efficient. The plug-and-play setup means businesses can digitise in as little as 24 hours; operators simply switch on, connect to Wi-Fi and start taking orders. It also requires zero training – it’s that user friendly. 

What are your company values? Have you ever had them challenged and if so how have you dealt with it?

We are customer-obsessed and relentlessly hardworking, agile and innovative. We always put the customer journey first, which means changing and adapting to an evolving industry, and even more rapidly evolving consumer demand. 

We’re dealing with an industry that has been slower to adapt than the high street, whether due to misconceptions about cost, difficulty or consumer expectations. But the global pandemic has accelerated change, and we’re seeing more and more catering companies open up to new ways of serving their customers. We have a hardworking team who are pioneers in helping our clients take the leap into what might be the unknown for them and digitise.

How do you ensure that you recruit a team that reflects your company values?

We are always on the lookout for smart, hardworking, success-hungry individuals.

Are you happy to offer a hybrid working model of home/office post-covid?

Yes, absolutely. We’re a digitally-minded start-up and anyone on the team just needs a laptop and a good connection to do their job. We had the tools in place for remote working before the pandemic hit, so thankfully it wasn’t a culture shock for us. And in that respect, we were lucky that Covid had little impact on our business. Of course, it’s nice for people to socialise once a week or so, but that doesn’t have to be in the office. And as far as our clients are concerned, we are always on hand, no matter where we’re working from.

Do you have any tips for managing suppliers and customers effectively?

Our client relationships are built on successful, long-term win-win partnerships. You need to work hard to understand your customer’s priorities, their pain points and their end goal – and then you can address them, build something they really need. We provide value to our client’s customers, streamline our client’s services and drive more business for them, and in turn for us. 

Any finance or cash-flow tips for new businesses starting out?

Really scrutinise your spending – ask yourself what’s essential, and what return you’re likely to see on any money that goes out. It’s a good idea to start small and invest your time and money in honing something people will really want. A fancy office is not essential. 

If you could ask one thing of the government to change for businesses what would it be? 

Teaching entrepreneurship in schools is the only way to prepare our kids for the uncertainty of the future. Skills such as problem-solving, teamwork and empathy are just as important as maths or English, if we want future business leaders to address some of the most pressing issues we’re facing today. Technology, and AI in particular, will make many jobs redundant, and we will need more entrepreneurs to foster innovation. 

What is your attitude towards your competitors?

We keep note of our competitors, but our focus is always on our customers and how we can make things easier or better for them. 

Any thoughts on the future of your company and your dreams?

Our aim is clear and simple – to maximise the impact of our technology by getting it into the hands of as many people as possible. The global pandemic pushed caterers to embrace digital trends and in just one year, we witnessed an uptake and implementation of digital ordering technology that we had previously projected to take five years. 

Dynamify is now servicing over 500 restaurants in eight countries around the world and gross transaction value processed through the platform has grown twentyfold during the pandemic. But we know that there is a lot more scope for digitising the contract catering industry. 

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Secrets of Success: Maxwell Harding, CEO and Founder of Dynamify