As the casualties on the business battlefield start to pile up with the sudden forced cessation of business by the government, restaurants are taking a hit and many are closing their doors, never to reopen. However, in the midst of all this, one Seattle restaurant owner is THRIVING, with sales DOUBLE what they were the previous year, forcing him to double his staff and continue to look for more. How’s this possible? Simple: the owner of Addo, Eric Rivera, decided, “Not today, coronavirus, not today.”
He instantly shifted his entire business to pickup and delivery using his own staff to make drop-offs rather than using Grubhub or Uber Eats, which take almost all the profits in a restaurant’s takeout service. He then started selling food “bundles” including wine and now allows customers to preorder a three-pack of “heat and serve” meals for the week. He also initiated a “pay forward” $9 bowl of food they deliver to homeless shelters that people can buy. On March 17, they hit over 1,000 bowls purchased and delivered. Not too surprisingly, he INCREASED his marketing efforts and spend on social media and initiated a platform called Tock that allows customers to order meals and pick up on a selected day and time – not just when they’re ready to eat. Doing so has allowed them to better plan food ordering and minimize waste. He’s also changed his menu daily to keep things interesting and makes sure he delivers EXTRA wow in the service so customers keep coming back.
Jim Rohn often said that if you ever wondered why a successful person was so successful, follow them around for a day and you’ll find out soon enough. They’re HUSTLING.
Last month I celebrated my birthday. Not ONE restaurant of the DOZENS of restaurants I frequent attempted to e-mail me an offer of ANY kind. How hard would that be? “Hey, Robin! Happy birthday! Order a meal for pickup or delivery and we’ll throw in a free mini chocolate cake. Order for four or more and we’ll add a free appetizer too!” Not one. NOT one. It’s hard to feel sorry for someone who’s losing when they’re not even trying. Easter quickly followed, but even Honey Baked Ham – a place I’ve routinely ordered from on Easter and Thanksgiving for the past few years – didn’t actively solicit me for buying a complete “Easter Dinner” bonused by a few extras or incentives to get me to come pick it up. Why? Why? I could come up with a good offer with half my brains tied behind my back.
But let’s set restaurants aside for a minute. What about any number of businesses that are seeing a decline in business. Car washes, for example. “We’ll come to you… Leave your car in the driveway and we’ll clean it and leave! Pay online with no social interaction!” Flower shops. “Stuck inside? Let’s brighten the place up with some fresh flowers delivered to your door!” or “Let’s send a bouquet to someone you’ve not been able to hug in a while.” Window cleaners. “Why look out grimy windows? Let us clean the OUTSIDE of your windows for 20% off right now!” Day spas could offer “at home” spa packages shipped complete with essential oils, bath salts, soaps, lotions, a robe, etc., all bundled together to “comfort you during this stressful time,” along with a discount voucher to use when everything gets back to normal. ALL of these could be offering some type of delivery or service with a little imagination to keep SOME revenue going.
Even CPAs could be scooping up business right now if they were offering free SBA loan assistance or an “emergency” 911 call to discuss finances, yet I’ve not seen even one trying. Cleaning companies should be THRIVING right now, but I know of several here locally that are out of work. How is this possible? They could switch to cleaning out your garage so they don’t even come into the house…or deep-cleaning an office or workspace while everyone else is home. Teachers could be offering free (or paid) online tutoring for ALL sorts of skills to keep the kiddos busy while at home. For toy stores: how about a subscription where once a week a craft box or other “activity” is sent and then a Zoom meeting held with the kiddos to show them how to make the thing, use the thing, build the thing. I could sell that in a hot second.
Point is, this is one of the GIGANTIC differences between entrepreneurs and business owners, as well as how I, and those members who embrace my approach, think so differently about marketing and generating revenue.
WE hustle and find a way to make money despite what’s going on around us. WE find NEW ways to profit and grow the business. WE think of ways to sell even in “bad” times by adjusting the message and offer. WE repackage, rebundle, rename and INVENT. As I’ve often said, if a relatively normal, healthy person is broke in America, it’s NOT for lack of opportunity.
I’ll go one further: if you don’t come out of this nightmare of an event with at least ONE or two new ways to serve your clients and profit, you’re totally asleep at the switch. Sorry, not sorry.