As the CEO and co-founder of CHEQ, Thomas Lapham is fully committed to expanding and evolving the app. Before CHEQ, Thomas Lapham sold his first business to Shell New Energy in 2014 and left for Beijing. His time there and the innovations in the Asian markets were crucial to what would eventually become CHEQ.
Sometimes ideas come to us when we least expect them. It seems that’s what happened to Thomas Lapham, when he came up with the concept for CHEQ while waiting in line at a restaurant.
In this interview, we talk with CHEQ founder to learn more about his vision for the future of on-premise mobile transactions.
Thomas Lapham pointed out the growing popularity of this trend, that also makes it easy for people to send gifts to their loved ones no matter where they are.
Spotlight: CHEQ is the first app of its kind to enable social purchasing and gifting among peers. What triggered the idea, and how did you get started with it?
Thomas Lapham: During the COVID-19 pandemic, my wife and our two young daughters and I experienced long waits at the few restaurants and sports stadiums that were open, and I wanted to create a better experience for friends and families.
My vision was to use mobile technology to enhance on-premise transactions, and to allow people to connect with one another through gifting when they couldn’t be together in person. I became obsessed with solving these problems and founded CHEQ as the solution.
How big is the CHEQ community now and have you noticed an uptick in social gifting this holiday season?
CHEQ is live in stadiums and restaurants around the country, such as the Marlins’ loanDepot Park and the Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, the Commanders’ FedEx Field in Washington, the Titans’ Nissan Stadium in Nashville, and many more.
Millions of users come into contact with CHEQ at these venues as we help enhance their on-premise experiences and let them connect with friends and family remotely. We have absolutely seen an increase in social gifting this holiday season as people seek a personalized connection with loved ones, even when they can’t be together physically.
In fact, during the Season of Gifting we partnered with the Hard Rock Cafe on Christmas Day to provide Dolphins fans a chance to experience our app.
Fans who used CHEQ during the Christmas Day game received a text message with a gift for a redeemable “Messi Burger Champions Edition'' at Hard Rock Cafe Bayside and Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood, FL, located inside the Guitar Hotel.
Your self-service kiosks have helped clients like the University of Washington Athletics, Hard Rock Café, and the Miami Dolphins, to name a few. How much time and resources do these clients and their customers save using CHEQ?
CHEQ helps fans at stadiums skip the wait and order to their seats via mobile phone, order for pickup via phone, or order via kiosk. Providing lots of options is key so each fan can transact in the way that’s most convenient for them.
For stadium operators, this translates to an average of 28% higher order size due to ease of using mobile, 40% increased revenue due to getting more orders through more quickly, and a 20% reduction in labor cost.
Mobile transactions app downloads and retention are some of the challenges digital companies face. What’s your strategy in getting clients and customers on board and having them continually use the application?
We make it easy for users to transact and for operators to onboard. Users have the option to transact via CHEQ’s native app, through QR codes, or through the Team app powered by CHEQ. Each time they use us they become more familiar with our features and our network, and we slowly become a part of their regular purchasing and gifting habits.
For operators, we take care of all the onboarding, build their menu, help with customer outreach, and let them get started with no activation fee, no equipment fees, and no monthly fees.
They only pay a small transaction cost based on the actual sales that we deliver. We help them attract new customers by sending coupons and discounts in real time and through customized marketing based on guest preferences, such as vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free.
Right now, the company is focused on servicing the restaurant, sports, and hospitality industries. What are your plans for expansion and growth in the future?
It is true that CHEQ’s platform includes some of the premier sports stadiums and restaurants in the country. This network is powerful for users and operators, because it helps deliver value and convenience to users and drive customers and revenue to operators.
Friends can send each other beverages quickly and easily for birthdays, game day, or a bachelorette party. Parents can send a quick latte to their college student who is hunkering down for finals.
As we expand beyond the sports and F&B segments, CHEQ will be activated in hotels, amusement parks, casinos, and a wide swath of exciting venue-types.
Lastly, can you please provide actionable tips for businesses looking to streamline their adoption of digital payment solutions and POS systems?
Of course, we think CHEQ is the best option for businesses looking to grow sales and streamline their technology offering. That said, we encourage our venue partners to survey the existing options and make an informed decision based on the needs of their individual business.
We suggest asking potential technology suppliers what transaction channels they provide. If an operator has one vendor for belly-up Point of Sale (POS), another for handhelds, another for mobile ordering, another for loyalty, and another for gift cards, managing all these systems and getting them to communicate and doing the monthly accounting can become a huge task.
We also encourage operators to ask potential vendors what they do to help get new customers in the door. Lots of POS systems can process a guest after they arrive at your venue. How many can help get that guest into the venue in the first place?
We are confident that when operators compare the options, CHEQ’s offering will be very attractive.
Thank you for your time, Thomas Lapham. Best of luck to you and CHEQ!