Hankr visualizes opportunity in partnerships

Rev Up

John Kuehl, CEO of Hankr.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:21 pm


Leadership: Dan Early, Dustin Halyburton, John Kuehl and Mark Roller, co-founders
Headquarters: 161 S. First St., Milwaukee
Website: hankr.com
What it Does: Provides a visual food guide
Founded: 2014
Employees: Three
Next goal: Double revenue in 2019. Expand into new markets.
Revenue: $175,000

John Kuehl, CEO of Hankr.
Credit: Lila Aryan Photography

Milwaukee-based visual food guide Hankr has partnered with rapidly growing Madison-based food delivery service EatStreet in a new initiative to offer its service in partnership with other businesses.

Hankr’s app allows consumers to view photos of individual dishes at popular area restaurants to determine where to eat. The growing startup launched its public app in 2016, and has since expanded to about 700 restaurants nationwide, said John Kuehl, co-founder and chief executive officer.

EatStreet, which was founded in 2010 and partners with restaurants to provide mobile ordering and delivery service, has expanded to more than 15,000 restaurants in 250 cities.

Originally solely consumer-facing, Hankr recently made a strategic decision to focus less on app traffic and more on contracting with existing businesses in a partnership-as-a-service model, Kuehl said.

“It’s a more direct path to revenue for our company,” he said. “Long-term, all of these partnerships, with the exception of the sports partnerships, they add content to our core product.”

In the EatStreet partnership, Hankr is sharing its data API to funnel images from its website to the EatStreet database to provide visual aids when a customer is ordering from EatStreet. And Hankr is adding photos of dishes from popular restaurants in the EatStreet network nationwide.

Hankr has also partnered with the University of Wisconsin athletic department and concessions provider Levy Restaurants. Beginning this month, Hankr will integrate with the University of Wisconsin’s Badger Gameday app for concessions at the Kohl Center in Madison.

“At the game, food is central to the experience, so we’re making a visual guide of all the food you can get at the Kohl Center,” Kuehl said.

Fans can search by “bacon” or “comfort food,” for example, and see photos of matching foods, where those dishes are located and how much they cost.

Four Wisconsin tourism organizations have also signed on with Hankr: Minocqua Chamber of Commerce, Visit Oshkosh, Visit Eau Claire and Cedarburg Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s a turnkey, white-label guide to the restaurants in their area, and sometimes just the restaurants that are members of those organizations,” Kuehl said.

While Hankr isn’t profitable yet, the company hopes to eventually be as big as restaurant review site Yelp. It plans to start by expanding farther into the tourism industry and adding properties that have multiple eateries, such as resorts and shopping centers.

“We’re bootstrapped to this point,” Kuehl said. “Our decision on whether we need or want to take outside investment really depends on the growth that we see and the pace that we see in these different markets.”

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