Freedom Pizza: Delivering a digital customer experience
Ian Ohan thought that starting a healthy, super-fast pizza delivery company would be an excellent way to make the most of his 25 years of experience gained in the hospitality, real estate and investment industries. His first-hand knowledge of the UAE’s ever-growing business and hospitality sector made Freedom Pizza an irresistible opportunity. “I have lived and worked in the UAE for decades, and the opportunities provided by technology made launching a delivery pizza chain an exciting prospect, and one with plenty of scope to scale over time,” Ian says, “Of course, just because it was exciting doesn’t mean to say it was easy.”
Freedom Pizza’s path to success has been paved with roadblocks, challenges and a lot of hard work. In the beginning, the brand struggled to meet customers’ needs and their demands with the tools available in the market. In true entrepreneurial style, the team created a solution. Freedom Pizza co-founded Big Dwarf, which currently develops Freedom Pizza’s Freedom Connect platform that has propelled the company to an online order rate of 50% (and growing) in just over two years. “The digital element was a necessity”, Ian Ohan says. “We couldn’t find what we were looking for on the market, so we created it ourselves. It’s turned out to be a major asset to the business.”
By controlling the digital platform, Freedom Pizza effectively commands the entire supply chain. With full ownership of the delivery platform, the company can easily adapt its model to react to a dynamic, evolving market. With 10 current locations, 250 employees, and 135 drivers, Freedom Pizza is bigger than ever and ready to go global – with the help of Checkout.com.
“We brought Checkout.com on-board during our big rebrand,” says Ian, “We haven’t looked back. They are entrepreneurial, innovative, and service-oriented – and above all, they offer something different.”
Before working with Checkout.com, Freedom Pizza relied on bank-based payment gateway services. For several reasons, these were not the ideal solution for Ian, nor his company. Their previous payment gateway was an expensive and charge-happy service, and in the long term would be unsustainable. Freedom Pizza’s evolving technological needs were not being addressed and the customer service – such as it was – was often negligible. The business needed a stable, consistent, collaborative service.
Checkout.com was able to deliver Freedom Pizza with services greater than just payments; they got a partnership.
“We felt a kind of kinship with Checkout.com”, says Ian. “Everyone from the CEO down has much of that all-important entrepreneurial spirit, and they are clearly plugged into the goings-on in the tech and payments sector. Our businesses work incredibly well together, the ability to take an integrational issue and have both dev teams work on it relatively seamlessly is really useful to us. And if there are any issues, they’re always quick to respond.”
“The platform itself is excellent, but the service is equally important to us – and Checkout.com more than delivers on that front. They have had a dramatic impact on the business, and we look forward to continuing our partnership in the future.”
And what might that future look like?
Freedom Pizza has big plans to expand on a regional and international scale. “We want to double our store count to 20 in the next couple years, and 100 within the next eight,” says Ian, “But that will inevitably come with certain challenges.” And those challenges aim to be met through working with Checkout.com.
In particular, Freedom Pizza needs to adapt its business model to constantly shifting global markets. The UK is an especially high-value target: as one of the world’s major economies, it is a huge and highly profitable area for the right business.
“We think we are perfect for the UK market,” says Ian, “And when we do finally arrive, having great regional partners in place will be all-important in terms of easing the transition… In Checkout.com, we have that. It is a business relationship that’s really important to us – and the fact that they have strong roots in the UK will make it even easier for us to keep working with them in the future.”
- Provides reliable, consistent payment gateway solutions to a growing international business
- Fosters extensive, in-depth collaboration with Freedom Pizza’s team
- Offers ongoing, high-quality customer service to their developer team
All at a reasonable cost.
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