OTENTO Co. is creating environments where workers, especially service industry workers, are appropriately evaluated by making their personal efforts and hospitality talents visible using AI. How do they do this?
What’s the world they want to create? We talked with the CEO of OTENTO, Mr. Toriimoto.
Please tell us about OTENTO.
Say you were in a restaurant where the service was excellent, and you were delighted. Still, you were afraid your appreciation wasn’t quite getting across. At OTENTO, we help customers send their gratitude directly to that server by making their appreciation visible and thus tangible using digital technology.
Workers receive a note of appreciation directly from the customer, boosting their morale and possibly increasing their wages. This system also enables employers to evaluate their staff appropriately and improve employee retention, leading to stronger productivity or sales. Finally, OTENTO makes it easier for those on the customer side to find retailers known for superb services. By visualizing customer appreciation into tangible data, OTENTO makes all three parties involved- the worker, employer, and customer- happier.
Customer satisfaction is investigated in three steps: message, smart tip, and NPS.
*NPS is a measure of customer loyalty to a brand or product. It indicates the probability that a customer will recommend the product to others.
To make their appreciation known to a worker, customers scan the 2D bar code on an in-store point-of-purchase material to send their compliments and tips; workers receive this on an app. The data is analyzed using a unique AI-based algorithm and compiled into an evaluation report for each worker. The employer can check all data daily on a management dashboard to use the information in personnel evaluations or to improve service quality. Employees can also use the objective feedback they receive to understand their strengths.
Operations fully began as a paid service in February of 2023. As of August 2023, we have enlisted about 1,500 shops on a trial basis and 75 as paying clients, mainly in the service sector.
What does society look like in OTENTO’s vision?
We want to create a society where a person’s virtues, such as hard work and hospitality skills, are visualized, and the information enables that person to improve their career. It would be a society where relentless hard work opens new opportunities. Personal efforts aren’t always appropriately measured in CVs, qualifications, or academic histories.
More companies are now asking for reference checks when looking for mid-career hires, even in Japan. Our goal is to make OTENTO’s reports of appreciation so trusted that they are treated as a reliable third-party reference when considering career changes.
It is a system in which daily effort, kindness, and morality are directly linked to your career.
For example, let’s say Mr. A works part-time at an izakaya chain and becomes the most appreciated server nationally on OTENTO. Mr. A can use the OTENTO report to seek work at a different company he has always been interested in.
For OTENTO reports to be used as socially accepted references, our business needs to build trust. One way to do this is to go public, so our target is to be listed by December 2027. Also, we see opportunities abroad where tipping is the cultural norm.
OTENTO received the Excellence Award at the 10th Kyoshin and Regional Entrepreneur Awards in 2023.
What made you start a business like this?
After graduating from high school, I went to work at a factory instead of going on to college. After that, I worked at a human resource service provider. During this company’s group hiring interview, while others would talk up their educational backgrounds, athletic wins or career achievements, I didn’t have much to say.
That didn’t mean I was worthless; I’m a good person. If someone needs a seat on the train, I always give mine up, and I would pick up trash. I’m also confident that I earned the trust of my former colleagues. However, I didn’t have any proof of all this. The experience made me consider ways to connect fundamental life principles such as ethics, integrity, and humanity with career building.
A person’s humanity cannot be gauged only by academic, athletic, and business achievements. OTENTO began with the wish to build a society where small actions that highlight humanity, such as being kind or being able to say “thank you,” are recognized.
A society where principles in life, a timeless asset, is properly recognized, using the latest tools to implement socially. OTENTO will keep striding forward to build a better society.