Tangoo Talks Episode 7: The Adaptable Restaurateur
Tangoo Talks is the catalyst of marketing innovation in the restaurant community. We revolve around serving up expert advice on how to make your restaurant more successful, whether that be sales, marketing or more. We hosted a panel of managers, entrepreneurs and marketing wizards to speak about how they weave marketing into their restaurant business to connect with today’s digitally focused customers.
In Episode 7, we took a deeper dive into how restaurants are shaping customer experience to rise through disruptive food delivery business. Debates revolved around which marketing tools are working for restaurants: social media, paid ads, influencers; and if those same tools could be used to build your very own dream team, and much more.
We hosted an all-star hospitality industry professionals panel which included:
- Doug Stephen – Chef/Co-Owner The Merchants Workshop & Downlow Chicken Shack
- Trevor Bird – Owner/Chef & Co-Founder Fable Kitchen, Fable Diner and MeatMe.Co
- Kate Allan – Marketing Coordinator Food.ee
- Fez Rismani – Co-Founder/Executive Director Daily Delivery
Main Panel Learnings
- It’s all about designing a kickass customer experience resonates with the audience
- Food delivery is a must for any savvy business owner and you need to decide whether you use third-parties, a white-labelled service with no commissions, or a mixture of both
- Email marketing, PR, Video Marketing, and WiFi marketing have the best ROI out there right now – make sure to outsource these to experts in the field
It all starts with a memorable Customer Experience
As a food delivery company, the first thing that we thought we should do was to have our delivery drivers go for proper attire, have red bullet ties. It was coincidental to see the Food.ee guys who were also using the same ties for the first six months. At first, we were like, these guys are copying us! But point was that we both came at the same conclusion that the experience of the customer, if we’re the last touchpoint of the business in order for that business to be interested in our services as opposed to a cheaper driver that they could find off of craigslist.As a food delivery company, the first thing that we thought we should do was to have our delivery drivers go for proper attire, have red bullet ties. Click To Tweet
“I think, for me, when I think of customer experience, I think of obviously the end to end process, but I also think about making a meaningful and lasting relationship with our clients. And another word that I think of is empathy. So if someone says, I have a last minute meeting, it comes up and I have some kind of important people that I need to get something really special that’s going to wow them and I want to bring in some food that’s going to make me look really good. And they’re going to really enjoy it. Um, I think the first thing is just getting. Okay, I totally understand. I want to work with you and I want to make that happen. Um, so then on our end that would be finding the right restaurant, um, in terms of kind of the food type they’re looking for and their budget and then getting it on board with our logistics team and then when the food comes that makes them really look like a rockstar and bringing them some tasty and delicious meals.”...Customer experience, I think of obviously the end to end process, but I also think about making a meaningful and lasting relationship with our clients. Click To Tweet
“Our philosophy at both restaurants has always been that every aspect of the experience has to be completing a nailed. We’ve delivered a complete package and now that we’re dealing with the success of, the Downlow Chicken Shack where we have people waiting in line up to 30, 45 minutes, we’ve redoubled that focus even though we’re predominantly a back of house team. Every single person understands that.Our philosophy at both restaurants has always been that every aspect of the experience has to be completing a nailed. Click To Tweet
They make eye contact with the guests. They must introduce themselves. They must say hello, maybe even give them a high five. Make them feel special for having waited in line for that period of time.
Anytime somebody has to wait for anything, there’s a value associated with that. I valued my time if I’m doing this, that, or the other thing. And I believe that every single person has a value on their time. So we’re going to have that. We suddenly the aren’t just trying to provide food at this dollar value. We’re now trying to also make up for the fact that somebody is just waited for a little bit of time. So we try to create an experience and not quite a red bow tie, but it’s a similar idea where it’s people can get chicken, people can go and get chicken and a Friday and different places, so they’re going to wait in line and can’t just be because our chickens the best it’s got to be because we’re providing some sort of an experience”
“I’ll go in a different direction and say with Meat Me, It’s definitely more along the lines like branding, making a nice packaged things so that when people pick it they feel really good. It’s got good weight to it, got a good feel, a good graphics. I know that when I get home delivery stuff, my wife gets the Honest Company, and like in my eye when I kicked that box, this is a really nice product. I definitely use a lot of inspiration from them into like the packaging.Branding, making a nice packaged things so that when people pick it they feel really good. It's got good weight to it, got a good feel, a good graphics. Click To Tweet
With food delivery, what’s your sentiment towards it and does it disrupt the customer experience you just mentioned or is there a way for it to amplify it?
Trevor: I was talking to a guy that was in Fable the other day. He was saying the revenue of a thinking word for Foodora in the States was $2,000,000 a day. So, I mean, it’s undeniable that is, it’s a thing like if you’re, you’re going to get on board are going to be left behind. Chefs are opening restaurants with that in mind. They’re like, all right, where’s the takeout window? Like that’s like that’s where their mind is. How are we going to design this restaurant with that aspect that we can go in? Because like you’re saying, 20 percent of our revenues and income from that and money on the table. If you don’t.
I’m, I’m still not on board with it. I still have my own ignorance in my own advice and we should definitely get on board and make some less fancy food that can be poured into some take up thing. But for my concern is like, my food is too nice to be taken out, you know, I mean, I don’t really understand. People are going to get like this, like, like a steak that’s like plated it all fancy with all these different garnishes and stuff going until you takeout boxes like bastardizing my food and you know, my ego doesn’t like that. But through my ego I should probably just put a beef burger on the menu that people can take over.
What are the ways a restaurateur can assess the business opportunity and cost of food delivery?
Fez: There are two ways that businesses can take their businesses online. The first is with a platform such as Doordash, Foodora, UberEats, who are all business to consumer platforms. They charge 20-30% in commissions to the restaurant for giving them access to a large new audience and taking care of the delivery logistics for them. But the problem is that you don’t really own your own customers. You can’t go back to Doordash after a year and ask for your customer data for the purpose of using their emails to send an email blast with an important announcement or offer.
With a white label service provider like our company, we enable restaurant’s own websites to operate as an online ordering system connected to our delivery system. And we only charge a monthly fee. It’s paying $200 as opposed to $2,500 paying out commissions.
Doug: And the key caveat there of course, is that people have to do their own marketing. You pay 30% rates because these third-party providers have a bunch of users and if suddenly you whitelabel on your own website, you better be getting on your SEO game or you’re kind of screwed. So that’s sort of the model of no commission, you now have to redirect what I hope is your marketing program that gets enough website traffic for you.
What do you recommend people to invest their marketing dollars into as far as what gives you a return of investment?
Doug: The one thing that I wanted to do from day one is maintain our own social media presence because of the authenticity. You were talking about authenticity at the beginning. I felt that we’d be best able to deliver our own message, not mattering, more importantly when it comes to responding to guests. I thought that that would be for the best, but as I said I know no one in the TV world so I had to engage a PR person to help me do that.The one thing that I wanted to do from day one is maintain our own social media presence because of the authenticity. Click To Tweet
For video marketing we also outsourced because we’re honest with ourselves in what we can’t execute at a good enough level for what our customers online expect.
Trevor: MeatMe’s e-commerce delivery program gets the biggest ROI by far with email lists. Direct to consumer is by far the most effective marketing strategy we have. We do anything we can do to collect email addresses. Every time we send out an email blast so you just watch the sales come in. It’s crazy. We generally see about 10 percent of our 4000 person mailing list translated into sales. We pretty much do like $3,000 within like a 10 hour period – it’s insane!
Fez: One of the best technologies that is out there is Wi-Fi marketing. These are routers that you would have in your store and you would have a free wifi sign up on the walls and people get free Wi-Fi access in exchange for leaving their email address. What that does is it records your device id so every time that customer walks into your door and walks out, that would initiate an automated email asking how their experience was like and to leave you a review. The second time they walk in, they might get a coupon and you can also set up smart coupons. If a customer does not walk back into my store for a long time and are considered at risk of not coming back, we send them an email saying we missed them and offer a stronger incentive than other customers. Tracking ROI is very easy once you have that funnel set up to track the coupon codes and figuring out actually how much sales you got through that marketing channel.
Tangoo Talks Episode 7 was a fantastic last panel for us in 2018. and we wrapped up an incredible series of Food and Beverage Thought Leaders across Vancouver. As labour shortage issues continue to be a factor and technology evolves faster, restaurants will be forced to eventually turn to automation or invest in building an incredibly performing staff team. If the latter is chosen, they need to justify their investment through how they beat out the machines in customer service and as a result, more revenue.
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