Sergei Prokopov is the founder and CEO of CATz Soft Ltd. He’s one of the top Software Developer and WordPress experts in Estonia, best known for his great WordPress plug-ins named ReDi Restaurant Reservation. Sergei also runs a Web Development business and works for the Estonian community.
In this article I am going to interview Sergei as a developer and human above all! Plus you will also get a honest critic review of Sergei’s plugin. I am also a WordPress Developer and I am an entrepreneur doing different businesses. So I will judge the plugins from the developer’s point of view and also from the business man.
So let us get started with the interview. I am putting the question in the order I asked him through the Skype and letting you to read the exact transcript of our conversation.
Hello Sergei, welcome I hope you are good. Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi my name is Sergei Prokopov I am from Tallinn, Estonia
Great! What is your background in web development?
I’m doing software development for 20 years and for last 12 years I’m doing web development.
That’s awesome, what is your background in Restaurant business? How you got involved with this idea?
I have started my journey from producing and installing digital JukeBoxes to restaurants and pubs, thus I met restaurant business from inside. I love to visit different restaurant occasionally, and that how I looked for business outside. As a client, I have faced many times with a reservation when I did reservation over phone and when arrived they have not registered me.
Same situation happened with me when I reserved slot to change my car tires over phone. When I arrived, they stated that I have not made my reservation, and I was not able to give them any evidence, as I did not have any confirmation in my hand. After that, I decided to change the situation and create an online reservation software.
Why do you focus so much on WordPress?
I found that most of restaurants choose as their home pages WordPress engine. In addition, WordPress is a good platform to validate ideas. You just create any plugin, and wait for people installs it and gives you feedback.
Well, how did you come up with an idea to create WordPress plug-ins?
When I have created an online reservation portal, I started to find service providers and sell them reservation service, here in Estonia, but I was unable to find them. Most of service providers questioned us how popular our web site is and declining to sign up. But without service providers there is no point to invite clients. So I get into the chicken or egg trap.
Then I have started to look into other possibilities where on how to get service providers I came to an idea to write a plugin for WordPress. WordPress is installed into 26% of world web sites and it’s growing up. Among them different type of businesses. This is huge market for reservation plugins. So I wrote plugin for WordPress.
That’s great. Tell our readers something about your plugins.
My plugin is one of the most downloadable and recommended plugin for restaurant business. It is highly ranked and I do my best to get it with maximum quality. I tend to answer any question or reply to any issue within 1 day. I have several restaurants with Michelin star that chooses ReDi Restaurant Reservation plugin. At the moment more than 80 000 reservation was made with help of my plugin, and number of monthly reservation continues to grow. Plugin translated to 16 languages.
What are the features of your plugins.
The most valuable feature of ReDi Restaurant Reservation is that it automatically displays available seats, accepts reservation and sends instant confirmation. All that removes manual reservation verification and confirmation, and removes reservation conflicts.
Restaurants can define their open times, custom fields they want to collect, when to accept early and late bookings.
How it can help a restaurant business.
- It’s increasing client satisfaction by providing instant reservation availability and confirmation.
- 24/7 hours availability
- It reduces manual work that restaurant stuff needs to spend reviewing reservations and communicating back to clients.
- It reduces reservation conflicts.
We have seen your plugins has two versions. One is free and the other is premium. What are the difference and extra feature that are available in premium version?
- View upcoming reservations on Mobile/Tablet PC
- Setup maximum available seats for online reservation by week day
- Multiple open times.
- Support for multiple places. Number of places depends on number of subscriptions.
- Blocked Time.
- Send client reservation confirmation emails from WordPress account
- Email template customization for all supported languages
Can a restaurant run the operation with the free version?
Absolutely they are able to define open time, number of available seats, custom fields, when to accept early and late bookings, and that’s covers needs of most restaurants
How they can benefit with the premium version.
Premium version allows more complex reservation configuration that should cover all types of restaurants. In addition, premium version helps to organize manager’s works on the field with help of Tablet PC. Additionally I takes orders for plugin customization and can do anything that solves restaurant reservation management.
What is your plan for the affiliate marketer to promote your premium paid plugins?
I am looking for partnership with Restaurant theme makers, so they can include our plugin into their bundle and I’m open for any kind of partnership.
How many plugins do you have? Are you planning for anymore plugins release?
At the moment I do have 3 plugins. First plugin was a reservation plugin for different types of businesses.
Second one is ReDi Restaurant Reservation that targeted only to restaurants, and it outperformed first one.
Then I have created a plugin to call a waiter from smartphone. It works in a simple way: client scans QR code, web page opens with set of actions. Client select one of the actions: call waiter, bring menu or pay a bill, and then action displayed on a waiter tablet pc.
Currently we develop plugin to send SMS reservation confirmations and collect prepayments for reservations. After that, I have two plugins in plans: one is for managing Spa Reservations; another one is for restaurant online menu with possibility to order from table.
Now a human to human question (I mean from developer to a person Sergei), what is your goal in life as a plugins developer and then as a person?
My plan is this to release as much as possible plugins that helps others to drive their business. As a person, I would like work and travel in different countries meeting local culture and people.
That was a great time together! I hope our readers going to love it and Restaurant owners are going to try your plugins. And their business will be benefited. Thank you for your time mate!
Thank you also. For your blog, the blog reader who mentions this article will get some good treatment from us if they purchase the premium version.
Dear readers that was Sergei for you! A great talented developer who are helping restaurant business to run their business smoothly by automating some step. In the next part of this article I will be reviewing the plugin from my point of view and will let you know the honest opinion of a developer and businessman. Until then have fun and eat healthy!