By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
Charlie Jordan and entrepreneurship were meant for each other. It is clear in what he says, what he does, and how he approaches life.
We first talked with the Hendersonville, TN native about a year ago, soon after he had launched a start-up named Wait Saver. As noted in this teknovation.biz post from August 2015, Jordan was a student at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville when noticed a serious efficiency issue at a local restaurant where he worked. Enter Wait Saver, his start-up focused on bringing value to both customers waiting for tables and the restaurants themselves.
“We have put it on pause,” Jordan told us when we caught-up with him in early June during the “36|86 Conference” in Nashville. The pause is only for a period of time while his attention is focused exclusively on SafeSurv, another application focused on bars and restaurants.
As far as his latest endeavor, things are looking very promising. He has a major national restaurant chain finalizing testing and has just landed Nissan Stadium where the Tennessee Titan play.
“My big priority was to create a way you can’t fake driver’s licenses,” Jordan says, citing a big challenge facing the food and beverage industry. The SafeSurv product scans IDs quickly, reading the barcode, and verifies age as well as detecting licenses that are suspended, expired, fake or otherwise not acceptable. It also allows management to monitor each employee’s compliance with its ID checking rules.
“We are the only app on the market that picks-out all fakes,” he says. In fact, Jordan is so confident of the app’s reliability that SafeSurv provides a 100 percent assurance to its clients.
“We guarantee they are going to be able to pass their compliance checks,” he says of the sort of incidents that cause suspension of an establishment’s license to serve beer or alcohol. “If their business is fined while using our service, we pick-up the tab.”
Jordan started fine-tuning his idea in January, pulled together a team in March, and is now marketing and selling SafeSurv’s special Android-based mobile device to bars and restaurants.
“There’s a $1,500 annual fee,” he says, adding that SafeSurv is the only device that has been approved by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Until several conversations in early June, Jordan hoped to sign-up about 100 restaurants or bars by the end of July. However, in the space of just a few days, he had been introduced to a national chain with more than 2,000 restaurants and was awaiting a meeting with the appropriate executives. There is also a mini-market chain that has expressed interest and several other prospects.
Once SafeSurv is fully launched, Jordan says he will integrate Wait Saver into the offering as a package deal.
Meanwhile, there is the matter of his formal versus entrepreneurial education. For now, he’s suspended finishing his degree.
“I just wasn’t able to make school and business work,” Jordan says. We could only smile as we recalled the names of a few highly successful entrepreneurs – Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Michael Dell – who also dropped-out of college.