Interview with Dmytro Kostyk, creator of the Interactive Restaurant Table
With the recent explosion of smart technologies that are revolutionizing industries and redefining our way of life, the restaurant industry has remained one that has been a relatively slow adaptor, with most of its innovations confined to delivery services. But that is now changing thanks to bold entrepreneurs who are bringing unique solutions to the industry. One such individual is Dmytro Kostyk. Combining his love for new technologies and restaurants, the Ukrainian entrepreneur is the creator of the Interactive Restaurant Table (IRT), a touch screen table for restaurants, malls, and airports that integrates a state-of-the-art ordering system, entertainment options, and communication for customers. In this interview with Tharawat Magazine, Interactive Restaurant Table creator Dmytro Kostyk talks about his unique venture and what it’s like to be a tech entrepreneur in today’s competitive environment.
Can you explain to us what the Interactive Restaurant Table is and what it does?
I always wanted to create something not only unique, but also useful for society. As someone with an interest in the food and beverage industry, I noticed that restaurants use so much paper – on its menus, table sheets, and so forth, which are all costs to the restaurants and the environment.
I also noticed that the system of waitressing had much room for improvement – customers still have to manually grab the waiter’s attention and need them to explain everything about the dishes.
That is what motivated me to develop the Interactive Restaurant Table, which replaces human waiters and paper menus with an all-purpose touch screen table. The table can display photos and detailed information about all of the restaurant’s menu items. Once guests decided on what they want, they can simply place the order via the table’s waterproof touchscreen display, and the order is instantly relayed to the kitchen.
So this eliminates the need to have so many waitressing staff for the restaurants?
Yes, one of its prime selling features is that it allows restaurant owners to save money by reducing staff. But it also integrates other functions that make for a fun dining experience. For instance, the tables come with four built-in high quality cameras, which can allow them to video chat with guests on other tables, and even take and share selfies directly from the table.
The cool thing about the table is that it comes with a host of apps that include Facebook, weather, news, camera, games, and more that make it fun and flexible for customers.
Some people worry about how touch screens are reducing human interaction. What do you think will be the impact of the your tables in this context, especially if families are sitting at one?
I think our technology adds to the existing methods of interaction instead of replacing it. We all know that everyone is already using smartphones and other devices when they are eating at restaurants, so our tables are a way for families and friends to interact on one device instead of their own. When they use the apps and play games on our tables, the experience will only unite them.
What do you consider to be the greatest barriers in getting more businesses to adapt your product?
First of all, the Interactive Restaurant Table is new technology and the product is new to the market. The advantage of being new is that you are unique and the first of its kind regionally, but the disadvantage comes from the market’s unfamiliarity with the product – people have to be sure that it will work and work well.
5 years ago, we launched a restaurant in Cyprus that was fully integrated with our tables as a trial run of sorts so that we could make sure that the product runs smoothly and that it was optimized for the industry. Since then, we have opened 4 more restaurants, and have reached a point where the system works well enough that we can offer the products to others. Right now, there are restaurants that use the tables in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Russia. In the meantime, we are still at work to improve the product and are looking for global partners that are looking to open Interactive Restaurants.
What have you have learned so far during your experiene as an entrepreneur?
The project is definitely young, but in that short period, we have been through a lot of ups and downs. 5 amazing years have passed since we first came up with the wild idea of a magic table, and now we have a great product that is found in amazing restaurants that bring in good profit and rave reviews from the customers. One thing we learned through this process is that sometimes, it takes time to achieve success so you have to be patient and be prepared to work hard in the long run.
Do you have any other advice for entrepreneurs and business leaders looking to succeed?
Be passionate and never give up – this sounds like a rather ordinary advice, but I have found this to be very true. There are always a lot of obstacles and there is no shortage of people who don’t believe in you and in your idea. In such times, its easy to doubt yourself and think twice about what you are doing, but if you are sure in your dream and your project, everything will work itself out in the best possible way!