Incredible journeys that shape the present & future of food & beverage industry

Written by Hema Reddy / August 20th, 2015

“I look at my losses as great lessons and they take the place of the MBA I never got.”

What most stands out to me about Mark is his evolution as an entrepreneur. Starting as a teenager many years ago, Mark keeps learning and growing. Without a doubt, he has taken his punches (like all of us). Today, he is running a restaurant ordering app that has already managed $32,000,000 in purchases. Pay attention. This episode is full of actionable advice. We learn:

  • How Mark’s early experiences shaped his entrepreneurial philosophy as an adult
  • Why it is so difficult to make money in the restaurant business
  • Overcoming resistance in the sales process / Creating awareness
  • Asking the question: Why are most restaurants incredibly precise in most parts of their operation, but not in purchasing?
  • Mark’s take on investing in the stock market after having been part of a publicly traded company

Mark Haidet’s Professional background:

Out of school I worked for Arthur Andersen as an accountant but after a couple years found I liked learning about the companies I was working at more than doing the accounting side of it.  I transferred to the consulting side and spent five years doing management consulting across a dozen or more companies.  

I learned from this that I liked doing project work but I also wanted the accountability of owning a P&L and being driving tangible results, not just a consulting report.  I ended up finding Radiant Systems which was a growing technology company that provided point of sale and management systems to restaurants and retailers.  

I started out managing large customer accounts and worked my way across various operational roles over 6 years, ultimately leading our hospitality division.  I then became the CFO when we had a management change and spent the next 7 years overseeing the accounting, finance, investor relations, legal, IT and acquisition activities.  

During that time we re-vamped our internal systems and completed about a dozen acquisitions.  During my last few years at Radiant, my job became more and more administrative with increased SEC regulations and the scale of running a $400 million business.  

I was itching to have a creative outlet and spent a few years looking for ways to invest in a restaurant, an area I was interested in learning more about and felt I could have an impact with my operating skills.  I eventually ended up connecting with a Chef named Tomas Lee who had created a great Korean Mexican Fusion restaurant in Atlanta called Hankook Taqueria.  We hit it off and decided to work together to bring this unique food to more people.  This was my first true company that I started from scratch.  

It was a great learning experience and we eventually opened another location.  During this timeframe Radiant ended up getting purchased by NCR giving me a nice payout and the freedom to go pursue other ventures.  I spent the first year working with a private equity firm evaluating potential tech company acquisitions in the retail and hospitality space.  

Over time the convergence of my restaurant experience with the technology background lead to what is now Orderly.  My partners and I, who were all executives from Radiant, decided there was a gap in the market that technology could address.  We founded Orderly to fill this gap and that is my focus today.  

The short version of the story is that I like making things.  My hobbies include home renovation, cooking, building the neighborhood haunted house, making videos for school productions, creating restaurants and building technology.  Anything that requires creativity, design, and execution for a tangible result.


Selected links from the episode:
Hankook Taqueria (Mark’s restaurant in ATL)  
Area restaurants go high-tech to take stock of their business
The Ultimate Question
Setting The Table (Note from Matt: This book is a MUST read on customer service)

Posted In: Apps Finance/VC