The Birth of Viability

John Campbell, Oct 2016
- Time to read: 3 min
The Birth of Viability

As it is often said, necessity is the mother of creativity. This is especially true for the birth of Viability.

What is Viability?

Viability is a software platform for the hospitality industry. It helps businesses drive sustainable profitability on a daily basis.

The application helps business owners to benchmark their performance. This enables them to drive profitability through a process of continuous, measured improvement.

Viability is the ‘missing link’ between POS systems and accounting packages.

  • POS systems (like Vend or Kounta) talk to your accounting package.
  • Accounting packages (like MYOB or Xero) talk to your accountant.
  • Profitability management software (Viability) talks to you, the business owner, everyday.

Where Did it Start?

Meet Pius Steiner, the founder of Viability, who began his career as a humble butcher in the Swiss town of Gommiswald.


Gommiswald, Switzerland

Pius (pronounced “pierce”) began benchmarking his business operations early in his hospitality career.

He started creating a series of spreadsheets to help him measure his business’ performance. These intricate documents enabled him to drive continuous improvement on a daily basis. Up until now, there was no other way to do this.

This was not just an exercise in profitability management. It was the most sure-fire method he had in his arsenal to ensure a continuous improvement in his family’s quality of life.

Why Viability?

Pius didn’t just get out of bed one day and proclaim “I’ve got an idea for an app! Bring me a programmer!”

Creations of lasting value are crafted through a gradual evolution, driven by practical necessity.  

The problem almost all hospitality businesses face, is that they don’t know their true situation on a daily basis. Most have a gut feeling about where they’re at, but they don’t actually know!

Until a hospitality business’ operations are mapped and benchmarked against industry standards, the business owner is basically in the middle of nowhere without a map, relying almost purely on gut feel.

Intuition is great, BUT it’s just an assistant to true and accurate information. If you follow instinct alone, you’ll repeat the same mistakes day in, day out.

middle of nowhere without a map

This is where Viability comes in.

The tools that the software provides, like rostering and purchase order sheets, confirming your daily revenue reads, etc. fulfill a dual purpose.

As the business enters data into the software, Viability starts creating a very clear picture of exactly where the business is doing well, and where it’s suffering. This way the business owner can address each area in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Up until now, Pius and others have been doing a lot of this sort of decision making through very intricate spreadsheets, among other things.

Out of the Spreadsheet and into the App

Pius met co-founder and head programmer, Alan, at Kicco, one of his espresso bars in Adelaide. They hit it off and began the transformation of more than 10 years of spreadsheet-based performance benchmarking.

Pirie street, Adelaide

The view from Viability HQ

What was once a gigantic Excel document was now in the cocoon phase. 6 months later, and… no, not a butterfly yet. These things take time.

This is when they hired me, John, the third man on the team. My role has been to make the app look pretty and easy to use, among other things (as is often the case when you’re on the team of a 3 person startup).

We’ve put vision, passion and a deep wealth of experience into bringing Viability to the hospitality market. Not just for you, but for us too. Pius uses Viability at his new espresso bar, Likuid. Why? Because he’d be mad not to.

Over to You

If you have any questions about Viability, or would like us to elaborate on this article, please let us know in the comments section below.

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