Not just the world’s coolest lollipops. via thefancy
A restaurant prospers or fails for a million reasons, but few are as powerful as location. And when looking for talent to staff our establishments- from servers to software developers- it is tempting to let geography guide our search as it does our store fronts. We recruit from the local college, the local Meetup, the friends of friends we can meet for coffee. But talent is a global community bounded only by the borders we impose.
Today we are thrilled to welcome Luis to Ordr.in. Luis comes to us from Madrid (Spain) via the brilliant Jovenes con Futuro program, part of StepOne, placing high quality Spanish devs with U.S. companies. Competition for these developer is fierce and we are excited to get one, doubly so to work with Luis.
Luis has wide ranging experience, from big systems work at a major telecom to just about everything at a startup. In his spare time he built a paid traffic app for android that is very popular. And, until this year, has never missed an Atletico Madrid home game.
We didn’t find Luis at a Meetup. Luis didn’t find us because of a friend of a friend. It was StepOne coupled with our deep belief that talent can be found anywhere that made this match. A great team getting better. Welcome, Luis!
Sympathy with style
(Source: benjw, via drinkshopdo)
When the summer started I blogged about the great interns we recruited and our hopes for them. Turns out they exceeded our hopes. Jason, Joanne, Michael and Susie. An amazing bunch. I asked Joanne to write about her experience, what she learned and how she feels. Her words (barely edited) are below.
It’s a familiar routine now, march past Beecher’s and through the glass doors and into the clunky elevator, wait for a couple minutes, and greet the wood panels of the office on the 7th floor.
This, I am leaving.
In a day, I’ll be heading back home to cornfields and gas stations so I wanted to say a lot of things in this blog post, share what I’ve done, lessons I’ve learned. But I’d rather say one thing that will stick. So here it is:
I’ve learned here what it means to be part of a team.
At Ordr.in, all of us believe this company will really change the restaurant industry. We are committed and passionate, motivated by the vision and encouraged by good company. All oars are in and we’re rowing hard and fast.
But we also get away from those devilish little monitors that can box us off to grab and eat lunch together, share good stories together, update everyone on our work together.
We stop to celebrate finished projects, closed deals, awesome ideas and acknowledge the people behind them. (And when I say celebrate, I don’t mean a casual “hey nice job” I mean pull-out-all-the-stoppers celebrate).
We gather to talk about ideas, product visions, or a new phase in product development. There are spontaneous ice cream runs, ping pong games, and heated competitions over Google Doodle. It’s really great fun. But we also work hard and the combination of work, fun and acknowledgement is what makes this ship sail. We created a website about our internships for future interns.
Thanks team for teaching me how fun and rewarding it is to be part of a team.
I am sad to leave. Truly.
We will miss you, too, and all the interns. We are very proud to have all of you in the Ordr.in family.
CNN has a great blog post by Derrick Chang on taking mouth-watering photos of food. This is critical for restaurant marketing. Customers respond to images of food. Having no images, boring images or sloppy images of your restaurant are missed opportunities — or worse, active turn-offs to browsing potential customers.
And now two of my own tips:
Need some inspiring examples? Check out our Pinterest boards on food styling and restaurant design.
Last week another restaurant-Groupon faceoff went public, featuring Back Alley Waffles in Washington, DC. Back Alley claimed Groupon’s slow payment cycle was to blame for a business-killing cash crunch. Groupon fired back saying they were paying on the agreed-upon schedule, and that only 18% of the daily deals sold had been redeemed.
It is easy to blame others when business goes south. Ruby Tuesday once blamed “winter weather” for missing sales targets. Groupon makes a tempting target. But the facts are on Groupon’s side and provide an unfortunate but helpful lesson to other operators.
Let’s run the numbers:
Note: the restaurant is publishing somewhat different numbers but the difference is not material.
My gut (and I’d love some operators to weigh in) is that the gross margin on an artisinal waffle is at least 60%. That means for every Groupon redeemed, Back Alley Waffle incurred tops $6.40 in direct cost. Cost = $6.40 x 132 = $844.80.
Let’s play that back: Back Alley Waffle earned $2,932 at a cost of $844.80.
Even with a slow payment cycle, Back Alley was out $844.80 while waiting for their first $977 installment.
There are two big lessons here. The first is to make sure you have enough cash on hand to invest in your business post-opening. If you get to opening day with nothing but loose change, you’re probably toast. As a new restaurant Back Alley was just figuring out their operations and doing so with what they describe as “no money”. Sudden success, even before the Groupon, made the learning curve doubly hard. So why then spend money you don’t have to get customers you don’t need? Operators should to align their marketing investment with their business goals.
Second, know your operating metrics. The cost of the campaign is not forgone revenue ($16 X 733 = $11,728) and should not include indirect costs. Did Back Alley add staff specifically to serve 132 Groupon customers over a month? Did they pay more rent or need a new licence? The only costs are the direct costs of cooking and serving waffles for the customers who redeemed.
I don’t think daily deals are for everyone. I think a daily deal can be dangerous if not done right. But this deal looks like like it accomplished what was intended- customers acquired profitably.
Ordr.in is in the business of simplifying digital life for as many restaurants as possible. With that goal in mind, we’re launching a new series of social media guides for restaurants: How-to guides for restaurants to understand how to make social media work for them to build their brand, handle customer service with care, and attract new customers.
Our first guide is Twitter for Restaurants — an overview of how a restaurant can get up and running on Twitter. The rewards for the restaurant that does Twitter right can be so worthwhile in the long run, so take a look at these Tweeting best practices and make sure your restaurant is maximizing its impact on Twitter.
Our Twitter guide for restaurants is short and concise — easy to print out and tack onto your wall. We hope restaurants everywhere trying to understand the art of the tweet will find our guide to Twitter a useful resources. So share and share alike!
image credit: Twitter ad for @pancheros at their ames location. by Brood_wich, on Flickr
The second annual TwilioCon is fast approaching, and we’re thrilled that our own Ricky Robinett, hacker extraordinaire, will be a featured speaker at the SF-based event.
If you don’t know Twilio, you should: They’re making telecom accessible for over 10 million developers worldwide to be able to automate phone calls, text messages, and more. Next generation communications are essential to what Ordr.in does for restaurants, and Twilio makes it easy.
Ricky’s apps have been used by hundreds of thousands of users and covered in multiple media outlets including CNN, Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Mashable, VentureBeat and the Today Show.
TwilioCon early bird registration ends in just a couple of weeks, so take a look at the schedule and speakers. And let us know if we’ll see you there!
Bread & Ink - Breakfast by eyeliam on Flickr.
Aren’t you hungry? Damn right you are. Super close up of the food shows texture. Helps make the image real and attractive.