Updated: Apr 27, 2022
Restaurant point of sale systems, online ordering, internet services – oh my! As restaurants become increasingly tech-reliant, Luisa and her Co-Founders are on a mission to reduce operator headaches with technology support that is one tap away.
Luisa Castellanos is the COO and Co-Founder of Science On Call, a 24/7 tech support platform for bars and restaurants. With a call or click, restaurant staff can get on-demand help in clearing up any technology woes affecting their service.
“Restaurant operations have only been getting more and more complex,” said Luisa. “Most of our team comes from the hospitality industry, so everybody understands how crucial it is to be a helpful resource at the right time.”
Science On Call started in 2020, when Luisa and her co-founder pivoted from IT consulting to a new approach centered around restaurant technology support. Shortly after, the Science On Call team started applying to accelerators and brought on their CTO. Today, Science On Call provides technology support for over 160 restaurant clients, coast-to-coast. Science On Call has robust support capabilities for many leading restaurant systems and platforms, including DoorDash, UberEats, Toast, NCR, Clover, and more.
Their Chicago-based team currently has a headcount of 14 “Scientists,” and continues to grow.
Luisa graduated from DePaul in 2015, where she studied entrepreneurship and marketing as an undergraduate. Through her courses, she discovered the range of possibilities technology startups can create. Her first entrepreneurship experience goes back to when she was eleven, where she started a small business selling stuffed animals.
Q: How did the idea for Science On Call come about?
Luisa: “In college, I helped found Science Retail. I was involved in IT consulting projects, mostly for retailers on by project-by-project basis.
By 2019, my co-founder and I had started to see so much more activity among restaurant clients. That led us to pivot and start Science On Call, with a focus on the challenges faced by restaurant operators. The awesome thing is, we still have restaurant clients who have been with us since 2014.
In January 2020, we joined the Food Foundry Accelerator. This helped us build and define exactly what we wanted Science On Call to be. We also met our third Co-Founder and CTO, Ken, who brought a ton of experience working with independent food businesses.”
Q: What specific challenges does Science On Call solve for operators?
Luisa: “It could be their restaurant’s point of sale isn’t working, or their internet goes down. Online orders not flowing to their tablet is one, too; pretty much anything that can go wrong in a restaurant, we’ve resolved firsthand.
Our support services are platform agnostic, so we can handle issues with every thinkable system: point of sale, online ordering aggregators – you name it, and we’ve seen it.
We’ve solved over 8,000 tickets to date, which gives us a huge database of restaurant IT issues out there and the frequency at which they occur. We’re starting to look at ways that we can automate common resolutions, which is one of the next things for us.”
Q: As an entrepreneur, what skills have helped you the most?
Luisa: “It’s essential to be yourself; don’t try to be something that you’re not. If you start a business, it has to be something you are truly passionate about – something you’d be willing to pursue for the next five or ten years, possibly.
As an entrepreneur, you should always be looking for feedback and opportunities to learn. Finding as many good mentors as you can is so important, especially for the long run.
Finally, nobody is an expert in everything. It’s important to find good partners to work with, who can teach you things along the way. When I started out, I always kept my eyes and ears open for people who knew more than I did.”
Q; What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Luisa: “My favorite aspect of working at Science has to be my team. They definitely help keep me motivated on our mission.
My co-founder Andy and I both have backgrounds as artists. With Science, we’re striving to create a culture that people want to be a part of. To see my vision grow into our company’s culture, and hear how people talk about their jobs and ideas, is super rewarding. Our employees are empowered to figure things out together, and host meetings where they come up with ideas to improve things.”
Q: What would be key activities you recommend student entrepreneurs invest their time in?
Luisa: “In school, I considered myself a very shy student – I didn’t like going out to meet new people, just by myself anyways. Looking back, I would encourage students to attend any networking events they can, and find a buddy if that helps. You never know who you’ll have the chance to meet, and you don’t have to go it alone.
After all, that’s how I met my Co-Founder and got Science On Call started. And I’m still going to events today, to get my name out there to new people. Breaking out of that shell through your college years, at a pace you feel comfortable with, is vital for entrepreneurs.”
To connect with Luisa, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or connect with her on LinkedIn. You can learn more about Science On Call by visiting their website, or following them on LinkedIn and Instagram.