Giving control of online ordering back to restaurants + the communities they serve.
location: Reno, NV
Role: Co-founder + COO
We believe technology should serve restaurants instead of restaurants serving tech companies. Dine.Direct gives restaurants the tech and community they need to win back their customers and money.
On being a founder.
I was born in Scotland and spent 10 years after university working for organizations in Ghana, the Republic of Georgia, Gaza and across the Middle East fighting systemic poverty and social injustice. When I moved to the US 5 years ago, I was surprised at the unexpected, negative social impact big tech was having on local businesses, communities and families.
Being a founder is my opportunity to use technology to strengthen local businesses and the communities they serve. My company, Dine.Direct gives me the chance to shape a future where local independent restaurants are no longer subcontractors to tech companies and instead have the tech tools & independence they need to gain power and thrive. The best thing about being a woman founder, specifically, is the equal parts fear and excitement that I experience all day, every day.
In terms of obstacles we’ve faced, Dine.Direct’s success relies on our ability to build a kick-ass community of people dedicated to restoring restaurants’ control over food delivery. Our biggest problem is getting the word out about who we are and what we are doing. Restaurant owners and managers are crazy busy. It’s difficult to catch their attention. But once they join they love us, and that feeling of success is addicting!
A pleasant surprise in launching Dine.Direct has been how transferable my skills are. From my days of waiting tables, to fundraising for NGOs, to managing global teams in the middle of armed conflict….each experience has prepared me for being where I am now and to where I am headed.
A quote I’ve thought of often since embarking on this venture is Jennifer Palmieri’s advice for future women presidential candidates, ‘Let’s nod less and cry more.’ Crying helps me get rid of stress. Crying helps me acknowledge that building a business while being a mom, a stepmom, a spouse, a daughter, daughter-in-law, a sister, and a friend is just plain tough!
Growing up in the UK, I’ve also had to unlearn that all conflict is bad. Direct confrontation is very much avoided there, and passive aggression is encouraged. I’ve learned that healthy conflict has a place in the pursuit of excellence.
To aspiring young women entrepreneurs, surround yourself with great women who you can call on. Many challenges women face in business are shared experiences (the small and big ones). Don’t be afraid to acknowledge them. You don’t have to solve them alone.