BEWARE: 3rd Party Food Delivery Services are being fuelled by a Technology Goldrush

images-1OK.  So we all know that delivery for restaurants is complicated!  But wait a minute!  Are we talking about “takeout delivery” or “catering delivery”?  Does it even matter?  I think it does, and I will tell you why.

As I woke up today scouring the industry trade publications, I couldn’t help but notice all the rage about 3rd party delivery services for restaurants.   What’s even more concerning, are the crazy valuations that these 3rd party delivery companies are getting, because they have convinced investors that “their technology” is going to disrupt the entire space.  Disrupt the space?  Really?  I doubt it…….

Just read this article in tech crunch – “The Billion Dollar Delivery Wars

Or just watch this crazy video about Munchery that was on Mad Money. I mean, an $85 Million Valuation?  How is Munchery Different than any restaurant?  Remember, this is a “trend”, and all trends come to an end.  Don’t they?

Check out these crazy valuations of technology driven on-demand services for restaurants:

By contrast, I really love this article in Forbes.  “Call Food Delivery Startups by their real name.  Restaurants.”

This whole market is being driven by software development.  I know, because my team has been developing real software solutions for the restaurant space for almost 20 years.  I read another article recently about “Gold Rush Software Development”.  See the paragraph below…..

“Gold rush software development is a high risk activity. The practices employed during a software gold rush are usually associated with hacking rather than engineering: small team sizes, informal processes, long hours, little documentation, bare-bones quality assurance practices—practices I refer to collectively as “commitment-based development” (Rapid Development, Microsoft Press 1996). Use of these practices puts all but the smallest software projects at high risk of failure.”

The odds of striking it rich during a software gold rush are about as good as they were during the California gold rush—for every success story, there are hundreds or even thousands of projects that bust out. But the failures aren’t nearly as interesting as the successes, and so we don’t hear very much about them. As with the California gold rush, projects run with commitment-based development are successful just often enough, and are so enormously lucrative when they do succeed, that they convince software developers that such high-risk practices can work, thus keeping the entrepreneurial dream alive. 

And so, this really got me thinking about how all this is going to impact our community?   What happens to the restaurateur during this process?  All the hard-working entrepreneurs, franchisors, franchises and independents.   The people who have mortgaged their homes to open their restaurants?  They are being bombarded by slick sales people who say they are adding value to the transaction process.  Well, be careful, that’s all I can say.  These companies do not understand your restaurant operations.

Not only is our community overwhelmed by this “technology gold rush”, but in fact, they are putting  our businesses at risk.  As a restaurateur, if you are approached by the plethora of 3rd party delivery companies that are promising you the moon and “riches”, BEWARE.  They are simply interested in the valuations that they are going to get in the market by investors who think that they are going to get rich in the process.  They are completely disconnected to the impact that their promises will have on your restaurants execution and reputation.  The one you have worked your whole life for.

At MonkeyMedia Software and The Catering Institute, we spend all our time focused on restaurant operations and adding value to our customers by making sure we are creating products and services that are logical.  I am proud of my team for staying focused on our vision of helping restaurants to grow sales and increase profits in the off-premise space.  Takeout and Catering for pickup and Delivery.

My advice to all the restaurants out there that have to deal with this Gold Rush?  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Focus on the basics.  They always work.

Thanks for listening.

 

Catering is Alive and Well in our Restaurant Community!

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September 2015 was a whirlwind!  Conferences, Speaking Engagements, Consulting, Training and Software Implementations!

MonkeyMedia Software is humming along with more than 5000 restaurants using our solution, The Catering Institute is growing very rapidly and working with so many great teams and our readership at Catering Insights is growing exponentially.

I always knew in my own heart that catering out of restaurants was a HUGE opportunity for the brands that really decided to take it seriously.  And the data is presenting positively towards this belief.

Next year I will celebrate my 20th year since entering the foodservice space and I am just as excited and bullish about our industry as I was n 1996, when I acquired Tony’s Deli & Catering Company.

Catering was the force multiplier at Tony’s and was the catalyst that led to the work that I am doing today at MonkeyMedia Software, The Catering Institute and Catering Insights.  I am amazed to see how catering is also the force multiplier for so many brands that we are working with.

As I traverse North America and work with the greatest restaurant and foodservice companies in America, I am left with a feeling of optimism and hope.  In fact, I am so certain that the work we are doing is changing the way our community operates, that I can’t wait to see what the next decade brings.

It’s going to be a fantastic ride!

I am grateful today to the team members that I am blessed to lead forward, and even more grateful to the more than 5000 restaurants and their teams that have placed their trust in our organization and for believing in our dream of helping restaurants to feed their customers where they Live, Work and Play.

Catering is here to stay and I am so grateful to be part of it.

Thinking “Inside” the Box – Growth of Box Lunches

Happy Monday!

I’m always looking for articles that I think might help me to do my job better at The Catering Institute, MonkeyMedia Software and Catering Insights.

I really think that Barney Wolf at QSR Magazine did a great job here!  Check out the article he wrote about the Box Lunch dynamic:

Thinking Inside the Box

 

Schlotzsky’s names MonkeyMedia Software as Vendor of the Year!

 

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http://www.qsrmagazine.com/news/schlotzsky-s-names-monkeymedia-vendor-year

Very proud of my team today at MonkeyMedia Software where we implement Monkey, the #1 Cloud Platform for Takeout, Delivery & Catering.

Thank you to Schlotzsky’s for this wonderful honour.

 

 

Be wary of online & mobile ordering solutions when it comes to Catering

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Alright!  This post is sure to raise a few eyebrows!

Let’s mix it up a bit today.  As we all know, Online & Mobile Ordering for restaurants is all the rage these days.  (again!).  As an industry, we suffer terribly when it comes to technology and the deployment of that technology into the operations of our restaurants.  We just don’t get it. And to make matters worse, the technology companies are using confusing marketing and messaging to further confuse everybody.

Online and Mobile ordering is just e-commerce.  It’s simple and is great for extending a transaction to the consumer, but it just won’t help you run you business better.  Not even close to better.  It has no operations based logic.

But it’s important to understand where a transaction online will impact your operations.  As restaurateurs, we must understand that catering out of our restaurants is an operations based business problem.  It’s not about just taking an order online.  It’s about how to execute that order flawlessly.  It’s about order fulfilment.  It’s not about taking the order, it’s about getting it out the door, on time, every time.  Order execution is the key to growing your catering operations, not just taking orders online.

There are hundreds of technology companies out in the marketplace that are offering online ordering.  You all know who they are.  We all see them at the trade shows.  The reason why there are so many is because taking an order online is the easy part.  There is little to no barrier to entry and so, anybody can do it.

Airlines, Floral, Books, Music, Clothing and just about every other product you can think of is now available through online ordering.

But to run a successful catering operation out of restaurants, you need a real business solution.  You need a software solution that has all of the business logic you’d expect to find in an operations based system.  Focused on order execution and fulfillment.  It’s what you do with the order that matters, not taking the order.  Clearly we have to take orders!

WARNING:  If you are going to build your catering transactions online and drive them through your POS for order execution, you are going to fail miserably as your transaction volume increases.

Today’s Online & Mobile Ordering providers will either;

1.  Send the order to a fax

2.  Send the order to an IP printer

3.  Send the order to your POS

If you attempt to scale your restaurant’s catering business using any three of the above workflows, you are doomed to fail.

And so, what should you look for?

1.  An end to end solution set that facilitates mobile & online ordering, call centre ordering, billing, accounts receivable management, raw material forecasting, delivery logs, sales team management, invoicing, statements, collection notices, distribution calendars, deposits and so many other things that they cannot all possibly be listed here.

And so, where can you find this kind of solution?  Well, I’m biased but why not call your PepsiCo Foodservice Representative and ask them if they have a catering solution? I’m sure they will point you in the right direction!

Or, just call Mo Asgari (604-215-2163) at MonkeyMedia Software and he’ll show you what you need!  If you are a PespsiCo customer, make sure you ask him about the “PepsiCo Advantage” program for preferred pricing.

Oh, and to all the online and mobile ordering guys out there, if you’d like to send your online and mobile orders to Monkey’s system so restaurants can actually grow their catering operations, just give Mo a call.  He’s happy to chat about our API.

Let’s talk catering!

 

Want to grow your catering sales? Ask Your PepsiCo Sales Representative How!

PepsiCo Portfolio

For the last 18 years I have been helping restaurants to grow off-premise sales through MonkeyMedia Software , The Catering Institute and Catering Insights.  I am so lucky to do the work that I do.

My passion for this space came out of my own deli in Vancouver, BC where I spent many years as an owner operator.  I experienced success in providing more takeout, delivery & catering to my customers and ended up developing Monkey, The # 1 Cloud Platform for Takeout, Delivery & Catering.  Today we support more than 5000 restaurants in North America and we are growing nicely!

In addition to our software, The Catering Institute continues to develop fantastic curriculum to help restaurants implement the strategy of the 5 Pillars of Successful Restaurant Catering.  We are deeply committed to education in the off-premise space and we are so excited about what we are seeing happen with catering from our industry’s most important suppliers!

Allow me to explain.

To me, catering out of restaurants is going through the same market dynamics that drive thru did in the 1970’s.  Here is what happened:

1.  Markets shifted and innovation by restaurateurs came first.  It was just an idea.

2.  Technology caught up and made it easier for restaurateurs to grow drive thru operations.

3.  The largest supply chain companies in the world got behind the innovations and investments and pushed towards helping our community to grow more sales and profits in this channel.

These three key factors made it easier for restaurant companies to grow drive thru sales and the more we prevailed, the more consumers rewarded us with their business.

Fast forward to 2015.  It’s happening again!  But this time, the sales channel is catering!

The same dynamics are happening with the entire off-premise business opportunity, especially with Catering.

1.  Restaurants have been trying to cater for years.  Early innovation.

2.  Technology (like ours) is helping to make it easier to cater.

3.  Supply chain Partners are investing and helping

And so, as I sit here today contemplating why the largest supply chain companies in the world need to help our community, I call your attention to the great work that PepsiCo Foodservice is doing in the restaurant space.

You see, they are not only innovating fantastic products under their portfolio for takeout, delivery & catering, but in fact, they are diving deep into helping restaurant operators with their overall off-premise business strategy.  They are investing resources into helping their customers do more takeout, delivery & catering.

To me, this is what sets companies like PepsiCo apart from their competitors.  They are forward thinking and not just focused on selling more of their products to their customers.  They are deeply engaged in learning and completely focused on helping their customers to grow sales and increase profits by educating them to become experts at feeding their customers where they Live, Work & Play!

Want to grow your catering sales?  Call your PepsiCo Sales Representative today and ask them how!

Let’s talk catering!

 

 

For Restaurant Catering To Succeed, We need Executive Alignment

 

Let’s Talk Catering!

imagesHere at the Catering Institute and MonkeyMedia Software, we work with the most amazing restaurant companies in America.  I am always dissecting new ways of doing things, and always looking at ways of how to make catering work in restaurants.  After all, a restaurant is a complex manufacturing plant!  Adding more revenue channels is complicated.

The single most important lesson I have learned is that we need executive alignment to make catering work inside these complex operations.  It requires commitment.

So, here are 5 things to think about as you consider growing catering sales.

1.  Slow Down – We have to take the time to understand the 360 degree strategy of takeout, delivery and catering.  They are all closely related.  They are interdependent on each other.

2.  Plan – We have to take the time to make a proper plan.  We ALL need to do a better job at that.  Planning is hard for everyone.

3.  Menu Differentiation – We need to focus on markets.  The market for these services is different from our current restaurant products and services.

4.  Sales – We have to become very active in our selling process.  It needs to become part of our culture at all touch points of our companies.

5.  Patience – All great things take time.  Growing catering out of our restaurants is a major commitment and it will take investment and time.

Of course, I could make a list of a hundred more ideas… just call me at 604-831-7422 if you want to chat more.

I am living and breathing this material all day long!