Podcast Recap: Interview with David Harper from 9-Eighteen

By Team foreUP on Apr 27, 2020 5:48:23 PM

Golf businesses everywhere have been trying to figure out the best ways to move through this pandemic safely, while doing what’s possible to keep their business open.

podcastCover_20200304-1Along with the new tools we've launched to help you better manage courses online, we have sponsored Golf Business Secrets Radio, a new podcast made for club owners and the golf industry. Every Wednesday, Ryan Petersen discusses the current challenges local owners face and solutions for the golfing community at large. 

If you haven’t had the chance to listen yet, you can get a full recap of episode4 here, where Ryan interviews special guest David Harper who founded 9-Eighteen and is one of foreUP’s newest partners.

Host:

Hey, welcome to Golf Business Secrets Radio. I'm here today with David Harper. He's one of the founders of 9-Eighteen and we're going to talk a little bit about it. RyanPetersen

With everything going on with the Coronavirus, there are a lot of solutions out there for the golf industry. Golf is one of the few industries that has been impacted, but still is able to maintain a running business and still has golfers out on the course.

We’re really excited to talk with David today to see what 9-Eighteen can actually do for your course or club and how it might benefit your golfers, as well as your business. So David, why don’t you say hi.

David:

Hey everybody. Thanks for having me, I’m really excited to be here.

Host:

Well David, why don't you tell everyone a little bit about 9-Eighteen and what the solutions are in this kind of era we're in with social distancing.

David:

Okay, so for those of you that haven't heard about 9-Eighteen, it's basically an on-course mobile app that eliminates the communication gap between your golfers that want to order food and beverage on the course, and of course, the golf courses that wants to provide it.

The app allows you to serve the first group out in the morning, right up to the last group in the evening without having to actually run a beverage cart full time.918Social

Golfers love it because when they want something they can communicate that to you. The golf courses love it because it's providing an opportunity to maximize on every sale. With the coronavirus (...) what we're finding is that we've got a solution here that helps golf courses still continue to offer those food and beverage services out on the course, but doing it in a socially-distant friendly manner.

With 9-Eighteen, golfers order through the app and there's an instant messaging component there so you can communicate with them. But most importantly, golfers pay for their order through the app itself. So you can still serve golfers out on the course (without having to get too close).918_2

The app notifies the servers where exactly they are on the course and what they’ve ordered. When the delivery portion comes up, the driver goes out there and stands 10- 20 feet away, puts their order down and drives off to the next order. So we’re eliminating the cash and the need to get in close proximity with the customers.

Host:

Wow. I can't tell you how many times I’ve been on the golf course and I’m on hole 13 and I'm thinking, I am starving. I should've got food at the turn and I have not seen the Bev Cart all day. You know, it's two o'clock in the afternoon, it's past lunch for me and I'm hungry. I know the course has a Bev Cart, but it hasn't been around.

The 9-Eighteen solution sounds like an amazing opportunity for courses to capitalize on that gap in their business, where they could be picking up revenue throughout the day rather than just when that bev cart is going around.

David:

One-hundred percent. We built this because I'm an average golfer. It usually doesn't take me to the 13th hole to want a beer. It's usually once I've hit 2 bogeys in the first 2 holes and I'm thinking, okay, we're on hole 3 here. Where's the beverage cart? Of course, it's either not out on the course or it's not right there when you want. So, we decided to build an app.

For example: I'm on my phone on the golf course anyway, I'll just go ahead, put in my order, put my phone down and I can forget about it! The servers know who I am, what I've ordered and where exactly I am on the course. Whether you have a beverage cart out at that time or not, now you've got the ability to run orders out to the golfers.

Golfers love it. Golf courses love it. It helps speed up that play. One of the questions I get asked is: Do you ever have golfers complain that they didn't see the beverage cart in their route?

Or, if the bev cart slowed people down the group in front of them, which is a constant complaint that we're hearing as we build up this business.

What we've done is solve that pain point from the golfer standpoint and from the golf courses’ standpoint. Golf courses don't have to leave revenue out on the golf course just because they can't run out there 24/7 or if they don't have the staff, or maybe it's a busy day and just can't get to everybody, you know, in a chronological order by going around in a big, slow, painful circle.

Like I just said, you're on the 13th hole, I'm on the 3rd hole, and we both want something now. Now we have the solution for the golfers, golf courses, and the delivery staff.

Host:

That’s great. I mean, you have businesses like Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash, their businesses are just killing it right now with the social distancing that's going on. Restaurants need revenue, but they may not have delivery drivers, so they're using apps like Grubhub or Uber Eats to get that food to their customers. On the golf course, I can see that same pain point where golfers want some food. So, 9-Eighteen is essentially an Uber Eats for the golf course?

 

David:

That's the comparisons we get every single day. Oh, you guys are like, SkipTheDishes on the golf course! I say, yeah, we're basically like SkipTheDishes.

Like I said, what I love is if it's a cold Monday morning, and we've got 8 golfers out there that all want a coffee and Baileys, I'll run those coffee and Baileys out. I'm happy to do so. And now I can entice them a little bit before the turn.918 3

I can get a notification through the app on the 7th or 8th hole to them saying, Hey, would you like something at the turn? And now they can extend their menus past a simple hotdog and the sandwich to a $20 order as opposed to a set of $5 hotdog because now they've got 20 minutes of prep time.

Now they're able to increase the revenue to keep their golfers a whole lot happier, and speed up play without changing the way things are done. So it's pretty cool.

Host:

So I know this works for golf courses, but just talking with you briefly before, you had mentioned that you're also branching into hospitality industries, things like that? Explain how that works there.

David:

Yeah, so where we live is in a beautiful part of the country in Kelowna, Canada. We've got golf courses, wineries, lakes. It's a resort community. One of the golfers from one of the golf courses here that uses our app was also a member at our local yacht club. He said, man, we need that app at our yacht club, because I see SkipTheDishes coming into the boat slips every day and that revenue should be coming from the resort.

So through this, with the help from golfers, we've created a hospitality side of our app, for boaters, believe it or not. Boaters are coming in and they're getting hungry, it's getting close to the end of the day. They actually order through the app, it pings to any lakefront restaurants that we've got here or the yacht club puts in their order.

Then, those hospitality locations and resorts actually send a message to the boaters when they're out or when the order is ready. So your order is ready to go, they pull into slip number 5, for example. They drop the orders into the boat and off they go.

Others have been using it for the pool side and on their beach. So you know, when guests are comfortable, they’re in the sun, they don't want to come into the restaurant. They just simply open up the app, put the orders and it takes it down to the kitchen and up they go, so it’s a lot of fun. Like I said, basically where SkipTheDishes and DoorDash doesn't go, is where we're serving.

Host:

So I could be down at the beach, near the resort, order some food on the app and it geo locates your phone, is that correct?

David:

Yeah. So what we do is we geo-fence, and geo-fencing is basically drawing in a visible fence around a certain area and anybody that is within that fence has access to that particular resort.

So if you're on your boat around the beach or you're at the pool and you're within that geo-fence, you can order and it'll have separate menus. If they have a certain menu that's eligible for the beach, they will be able to see that menu so they can order it.

With the app, it actually shows the servers where they are. So if they want to deliver something out to the beach or the end of the dock, it shows them exactly where the customers are. Same thing on the golf course, when they're going out to deliver your order, they're going to know exactly where you are. So it really does speed things up and it eliminates not having to drive around and find the orders. It’s like, here we are, come deliver it to me!

Host:

That's amazing. So where I grew up in Teton Valley, Eastern Idaho, there were like 4 different golf courses. So let's say I'm golfing one day, at the time it was Huntsman Springs, but I think it's now called the Tributary. Let's say I'm golfing there and I use your app and I order some food, but then the next day I go to Teton Springs and I'm golfing there. Does your technology know that I'm at a different course and so it knows to charge to a different course?

David:

Correct. So what we do is we actually draw a geo-fence around each course. So as soon as you pull into the parking lot, the app is going to recognize where you are. So here in Sunset Ranch where we are for example, as soon as you pull into the parking lot, it’s going to pop up with the Sunset Ranch menu. So for a guy like me who's always late, I'm always rushing out onto the first tee. I pull into the parking lot, I put my order in at the turn, and when I come down to head to the first tee, I just walk by the shack, grab my order, and head off.

So the next day, if I walk across the street and go into the Harvest Club, it's going to recognize that I'm at the Harvest Club and it's going to pull up the menu that they've got. Courses can also turn the app off or on. They can turn on or off OnCourse, or at the turn, the restaurant or Pro Shop menus at any time. So, there’s a ton of flexibility in there. It’s really easy to set menus, set specials, and really find something that's of interest to your golfers on any particular day.

Host:

So it doesn't require the golfer then to make a switch for the course. The golfer doesn’t even know the difference, they just have different menus when they're in different locations.

David:

That's right. Yeah. As soon as you pull into that different geo-fence, it's going to recognize that you're in a different location.

Host:

Wow. So let’s say I run a course or a club and we close down the restaurant at six o'clock, seven o'clock for golfers. Do I just flip the switch in the app and then the golfers can no longer order food and beverages?

David:

That's right. So we call it the “Super Admin”. It's the backend system for each golf course where they can go in, edit your menu, turn it on or off, and send push notifications. So if you've got a special for that evening, throw out a push notification, and everybody on the golf course will get notified of that special.

Most golf courses we find leave the Encore service on 24/7. They always have someone that can run orders out. We see the ones on the turn, get turned on and off on a regular basis. So we've taken a lot of feedback from GMs over the last 2 years of what they want to see and what would benefit them, and tried to adapt the app so that it's kind of universal and it works perfectly for everybody. Whether you're a 9 Hole Executive Course or you've got 36 Holes, a marina, pool and tennis courts built in, we've got a solution that kind of fits everybody.

Host:

I think this could really be something that courses could utilize, especially now with social distancing.

David:

Oh one-hundred percent. Like I said, we had a few of our local restaurants ask us just to kind of tweak the app a little bit just to help them out during this coronavirus pandemic.

The biggest bonus for them is because the customers pay through the app and they put their order through that, there's no reason for servers to get within any sort of dangerous proximity to the customer.

So with golf, it's great because, you know, like I said, you don't have to worry about exchanging cash and the customers aren't coming up to the cart and looking through the inventory. They’ve already made their order. So courses can still offer food and beverage services without having to risk being in any sort of jeopardy with what's going on out there.

Host:

Well, that's awesome David. So not trying to get too deep into the pricing and structure like that, but I know that you had mentioned previously that there was a special offer for anyone who is a foreUP customer who uses the foreUP software at their course, do you want to go into that?

David:

Yeah, for sure. So our usual fee, we charge a one time, $500 setup fee to geo-fence up anybody's course and get their menus and their sub menus and all that kind of stuff set up. Then we're $99 a month for every month that you use it. So if you've got a course that's only open 6 months, you’re only going to charge that for that 6 months.

Now with you guys and foreUP, we're waiving both of those fees indefinitely. So if you're a golf course that uses the foreUP POS system, we're going to eat the $500 setup fee, we're going to do that for you for free, and we're not going to charge you the $99/month.

So I mean, at the end of the day, the only thing you've got to lose is potential revenue.

Host:

Wow. I'm sure we're going to have a lot of courses and be very excited about that and want to jump on that deal. Looking at where the industry kind of is right now, and especially with social distancing being practiced heavily, where do you see 9-Eighteen giving the most benefit to the golf course? Just briefly, what's the number one thing that people should take away about 9-Eighteen?

David:

From the social distancing standpoint?

Host:

Just in general. I guess I'm saying right now with social distancing, I can see why 9-Eighteen is important, but what do you think is the number one thing people should know when they think about 9-Eighteen?

David:

I really think what we're doing is we're moving golf into a new era. Not just us, but I mean the age of the golfers is getting younger, millennials are certain to play more and let's be honest, they're all tech savvy. They're all on their phones around the clock and they love tech.

I think the way golf is moving is into that category. The complaint I get all the time, every single GM has said acknowledged that this is a problem. That they didn't see the beverage cart during their round and when the beverage cart was out there, it was slowing down the pace of play.

So we've got a solution that eliminates all of that. It puts the control into the golfer to notify the server and when they actually want something. So the server is not wasting time. Like I said, driving around in a little painful circle. They're delivering to the people that want it and they're doing it quickly. So if you can take anything away from what we're doing, just just know that that's what we're trying to accomplish. We're trying to eliminate that communication gap that is there for golfers and golf courses, and everybody wins at the end of the day.

Host:

Yeah, the age of golfers is definitely getting younger, more tech savvy, and like you said, that communication gap can be huge sometimes and technology can easily fill that type of void.

David:

That's right. Well, I mean, if you think about it, Starbucks has an app, Walmart has an app, Target has an app. Why doesn't the golf course have an app that allows them to serve their customers in the way they want to be served?

Host:

That’s a really good way to look at it. Well, David, I really appreciate you coming on today. We have a little fire round of bonus questions here. There's 5 questions. Answer them as quickly as you can in 30 seconds or less. What is your favorite book and why?

David:

Paddle to The Amazon. It's a really cool story about a father and son team, from my hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba. They paddled from Winnipeg down to the Amazon over a 3 year span. It's a really cool story.

Host:

I'll have to check that one out. All right, question number 2. Who is your favorite superhero?

David:

Oh man. I'm not really into superheroes that much, but I was obsessed with Spiderman when I was a kid. So I think every time there's a new Spiderman movie coming out, I'm always anxious to see it.

Host:

Perfect. All right, number 3, what is your favorite golf course you have played?

David:

Good question. Probably... that course in Phoenix where they have the waste management open? The TPC Scottsdale Course.

I played at that course a few years ago with a bunch of buddies. I had the best run I’ve probably ever played in, and I just loved every second of it. It was awesome.

Host:

It's a beautiful course. All right. What's your earliest childhood memory?

David:

I'm 3-years-old at my grandparents cabin in Clear Lake, Manitoba. It was Christmas Eve, and I heard the bells on the roof from Santa Claus. (laughs) That's literally the earliest memory I can remember.

Host:

Then question number 5, what is the best advice you've ever received?

David:

Keep grinding. I've got a good friend who runs a NHL hockey team as a GM, and when you play with him, it doesn't matter how good or bad things are going. He says, David in life, everything you need to do, you've just gotta keep grinding. So I'll roll the punches. Which right now, is the way things are going. We just keep grinding and everything will be fine.

Host:

Oh, that's awesome. That's great advice, to keep grinding.

Well David, it's been a pleasure, we loved having you on here, and I'm super excited for 9-Eighteen, especially the offer you're offering foreUP courses. Good luck with things, really.

David:

Well, we really appreciate the opportunity, and we’re really excited to get things going with all of your foreUP golf courses here. We can't wait for the rest of 2020.

---

Check out next week’s episode on April 29. If you’d like, you can also catch up and listen to previous episodes HERE.

comments
0

Subscribe

Get golf industry tips and tricks sent directly to your inbox!

 

Market your business with Instagram

Increase Occupancy Ebook

Chat with Us