The founders of chocolate retail chain Planet Chocolate have launched an ordering app aimed at small-scale food and retail franchises, after selling the business to an undisclosed buyer.
Planet Chocolate, founded by brothers Greg and Darren Factor in 2005, was born out of a desire to put a twist on the premium chocolate category by creating a fun, quirky chocolate brand.
In February last year, Planet Chocolate became the first company to receive funding from Inkuberra, an incubator of high growth potential businesses in the retail food industry.
Planet Chocolate has since been sold to an unknown buyer for an undisclosed sum. Greg indicated the tough retail climate was a key factor in the decision to sell Planet Chocolate.
“Retail, as everyone knows, is a tough environment and we like to stay with the times… We’d been working on developing the technology for Eezy Apps for probably 10 months prior [to selling Planet Chocolate],” he says.
“We weren’t sure if we would continue both businesses.”
“But once we realised the opportunity of what’s going on in the space of mobile technology, it became very clear that’s where we needed to focus.”
Greg described the sale of Planet Chocolate as a “smooth transition”.
“We had a personal relationship with the person we sold it to and he was the only person we spoke to. He loved what we were doing. He decided he would like to buy the business,” he says.
“The reason he purchased the business is to grow the business, but in terms of changing the direction, I have no idea what he intends to do with that.”
Greg and Darren are now solely focused on the growth of Eezy Apps, which creates online mobile ordering apps.
“For us, the focus is on Eezy Apps completely… Mobile is such an exciting space. There’s so much happening in it,” Greg says.
“We identified a massive opportunity in the current space we’re in – in mobile technology – and we decided that’s where we want to be working.”
The Eezy Apps system, which is aimed at small businesses, claims to do 99% of the work required to build an ordering app, allowing customers to place orders on their mobile phones.
Clients include a range of businesses in Melbourne and Brisbane such as Lord of the Fries, Hunky Dory, Deba Sushi, Ms Chi Qi, Hanoi Hannah, Found off Chapel and ZAPPA.com.au.
Greg and Darren developed Eezy Apps alongside IT partner Michael Colman.
The pressure on businesses to develop mobile ordering apps has been increasingly, partly due to the success of apps developed by major food brands such as Domino’s Pizza.
In February, Domino’s Pizza recorded a 23% half-year profit, thanks in part to the success of its app.
The Domino’s app enables customers to order and track their pizza orders from mobile devices. This led the company to upgrade its earnings growth for 2011/12 financial year by about 20%.