The Last Mile – On the Ground in Delivery Land

As a long-time restaurateur primarily in the franchised, fast-casual business, I understand the need to outpace and add more value & service to customers. Our contributing writer today, Roger Lipton highlights and adds his insights to what he calls the “The Last Mile” in the restaurant business. As more and more operators are fighting for the same dollar, speed, value, and convenience become the point of differentiation for many restaurant brands.  Enjoy Roger’s take on ‘Delivery Land.”

 

Another potential problem, as pointed out by a group of restaurant operators in Los Angeles, is that delivery agents are not trained in food handling and temperature maintenance standards. One LA-based operator said, “If a customer gets hepatitis, they are going to sue the restaurant.” Another stomach-turning pitfall, as described, is the hungry delivery person that helps themselves to part of the milkshake or a couple of the ribs.

 

DELIVERY, THE BIG THING IN RESTAURANT LAND – THIS IS WHAT “THE LAST MILE” LOOKS LIKE.

 By Roger Lipton

Reposted with permission

Restaurant companies are unanimous in their pursuit of delivery as one of the huge opportunities to increase the productivity of their physical plants. Too much square footage continues to be a burden on productivity, especially when it takes labor at $15.00 (ex the tip credit) per hour to service the space. It’s also clear by this time that control over the “last mile” is of major concern to restaurant operators. Not only is the reputation of The Brand at stake, but valuable information relative to the customers is in the hands of the third-party agent, potentially not as useful to the food provider.

A reality of this new source of business is that margins for the restaurant company will be affected since 15-30% of the ticket is paid to the delivery agent. While some argue that a large portion of the delivery dollars is “incremental,” it stands to reason that a customer who receives the product at home on Wednesday night is less likely to visit that restaurant on Thursday or Friday. On the hopeful side: delivery companies are already competing for market share, negotiating their fees lower, therefore improving the remaining margin for the restaurant. Overall, this is a portion of dining dollars that is very much in a state of flux.

ON THE GROUND IN DELIVERY LAND

Two articles caught our eye in the last day or so, in the New York Times and the New York Post, describing the reality of “the last mile,” and it’s not pretty.

The Post described how a delivery worker (from DoorDash) punched a pizza store employee in the head because the order wasn’t ready for pickup. We are not trying to focus on DoorDash (DD) in particular, because this could happen with any third party agent, but another DD employee posted a negative review on Yelp because the food “trash” wasn’t ready on time. Another DD hire made a scene after getting a parking ticket while waiting for a delivery pickup. Since delivery agents, including DD, UberEats, Postmates, and others, get paid primarily for completed deliveries and little, if anything, for waiting time, they are obviously very sensitive to the availability of the order. At the same time, restaurant employees, including one cited at (well run) Cheesecake Factory, are not necessarily treating the delivery person with great courtesy.

TRAINED TO DELIVER FOOD BUT NOT HOW TO “HANDLE” IT

Another potential problem, as pointed out by a group of restaurant operators in Los Angeles, is that delivery agents are not trained in food handling and temperature maintenance standards. One LA-based operator said, “If a customer gets hepatitis, they are going to sue the restaurant.” Another stomach turning pitfall, as described, is the hungry delivery person that helps themself to part of the milkshake or a couple of the ribs. All of this can be considered “anecdotal,” but the proper selection and training for third party agents are no doubt far from optimal at this early point in the evolution of the food delivery industry. Parenthetically, stock investors might well keep all of this in mind before they pay a considerable valuation for DoorDash when it comes public.

The New York Times described the experience of a bicycle delivery person in Manhattan, obviously a unique market, but still indicative of urban issues. The bicycle person, working for UberEats as well as Postmates, had continuous decisions on the run to make, all while anticipating traffic patterns and potential delays. Should he pick up several orders at a Mexican restaurant five blocks away for UberEats, or divert to two orders for Postmates at Shake Shack that was a little closer. As he said, “I had to decide: take on three orders at once and risk falling behind? Stick with UberEats, which was running a $10 bonus for doing six deliveries by 1:30, or try for a Postmates bonus? Information was limited. The UberEats app doesn’t tell you where the delivery is going until you pick it up. I could not know what the Postmates job would pay. The Postmates clock ticked down – you have seconds to accept or decline an order. I was threading my way around lurching honking trucks and oblivious texting pedestrians and watching for cops and looking down at the phone mounted on my handlebars and calculating delivery times.”

The article goes on to describe the intense competition among companies like Grubhub Seamless, UberEats, Caviar, DoorDash and Postmates, and delivery agents are often representing more than one company. The restaurants have been forced into the e-commerce business, outsourcing their product to the hands of a fleet of freelance personnel who may or may not appropriately represent the restaurant Brand. Especially as competition has increased, the net hourly pay for delivery agents has become closer to $10/hour than $20, sometimes even less than $10. We can only imagine the professional skills, or lack thereof, of a person that is going to subject themselves to this kind of pressure for that kind of wage. There is a myriad of other hurdles that delivery agents in urban areas will have to deal with, but that will vary by venue. We can say with assurance; however, just as above described in suburbia, there is enormous work to be done to iron out the issues, reduce the risk, and improve the profitability for the restaurant operator.

CONCLUSION:

The challenge remains to make delivery incrementally profitable, without taking on considerable risk to The Brand in the process. To whatever extent possible, maximum control over the delivery process should be at The Brand level. In the meantime, takeout and curbside pickup may be convenient enough to maintain market share, without incurring the risks as described above. Perhaps orders, above a specific size at limited times of the day within a certain radius, can be delivered by properly trained store-level employees. There is a large market to be served, but not necessarily at the risk of The Brand.

Read more from Roger Lipton here

The Growing Appetite That’s Fueling Acai Express’ Success

ACAI EXPRESS A HEALTHY AND DELICIOUS FRANCHISE…While food fads come and go, real trends that point to major shifts in attitudes and behaviors are invaluable cues for entrepreneurs looking for emerging and sustainable business opportunities. “Consumer Trends in Health and Wellness”, published in Forbes magazine reveals “the “new healthy” is a consumer journey of contradiction and discovery: Progressive health and wellness consumers are seeking alternatives to fear-based information, a phenomenon that has been driving wellness views for decades.

(They) are paving the way, sharing their enthusiasm and knowledge with mainstream consumers who are hungry for guidance and direction. As shoppers, progressives are no longer thinking about condition management (lowering cholesterol or blood pressure) or dieting (low fat, low carb) but are focused on real quality food, positive nutrition, fresh, less processed foods, and beverages and fun.” Translation: there is a growing wave of consumers — particularly among Gen Xers and Millennials — who are looking for a change in wholesome eating and are prime targets for the Acai Express experience and a healthy lifestyle brand. Entrepreneur, Hector Westerband, founder of Acai Express, has developed his low entry cost franchise concept to meet the cultural lifestyle change that is underway. With three flexible footprints: brick and mortar venues, trailers and food trucks — and a menu featuring new health-rich options — acai berry and pitaya bowls, smoothies and natural juices — he offers solutions to consumers and franchise owners alike.

Mind and body-pleasing bites, sips, and slurps.
Acai Express’ eye-pleasing colorful bowl menu is an Instagram worthy meal option that satisfies customers with 100% organic acai berries and pitaya, fresh fruit, berries, nuts, grains and an array of toppings. A wholesome smoothie with innovative combinations serves as a convenient, meal-in-a-cup breakfast or anytime boost that helps customers power through an energy lag. Healthy natural juices, recognized for the nutritional value: vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, make upping the daily fruit and veggie consumption an easy and nutritious choice for active people on the go. Good health to go! Speed and portability rank high in the fast service world. The quick serve model and totally portable menu of an Acai Express franchise are very accessible in this hurry-up world. With franchise opportunities in protected territories now available, finding a healthy meal, snack or meal supplement need not be time-consuming or inconvenient whether home is near the beaches in Puerto Rico or suburban Rockaway, New Jersey.

Too good to pass up!
Given that the average American eats out between 4 and 5 times a week and can choose from hundreds of fast-casual options, it’s significant that Acai Express franchisees report an enviable frequency of visits rates of 2 to 3 times a week. The taste and experience are memorable and consumers are returning to again and again. That’s healthy for the bottom line as well. As consumers of all ages become increasingly aware of the need for healthy and delicious alternatives to the high-fat, high-sodium, high-calorie foods that have dominated the menu of traditional fast-food giants, the small, more nimble quick-service entrepreneur can respond quickly to changing tastes with something new, refreshing and healthy that doesn’t look or taste like the health food of early days. This creates exciting and profitable opportunities for franchisees to be among the pioneers in the healthy lifestyle revolution while enjoying the reassurance of a proven model like Acai Express.

To claim your franchise territory please visit: www.acaiexpressfranchise.com

It Takes A Village To Build A Great Burger

BURGER VILLAGE,  A STORY OF PASSION…With over 15 years of experience in food industry and restaurant management, Burger Village is a dream concept and creation of four Long Islander brothers – Sam, Nick, Vick & Ravi. They have also owned QSRs and full service restaurant in the past; and due to their expansive individual experiences each of them has their unique contribution to Burger Village such as operations, cooking skills, recipes, management, marketing and service which overall provides customers with a qualitative dining experience.

By keeping in mind the need to eat healthy with busy lifestyles of today gave us an idea which finally came up as Burger Village where everyone can eat healthy organic meals alongside a great customer service. Burger Village opened its first location in Great Neck, NY in 2013. Customers loved us there and with their immense love and appreciation, Burger Village opened up their second location in Park slope, Brooklyn in 2014. Burger village believes in serving the best of the best so our patrons recognize what Burger Village values are.

Eat Organic, Live Healthy
We strive to serve organic, all natural, antibiotics and hormone free products in form of juicy burgers, fresh hand cut fries, salads, soups, shakes and other beverages along with delicious Desserts. We believe that Organic is sustainable and will always be. It does not only benefit the consumer but it is also helpful for the environment. Our products do not come from a factory, they come from farms and dairies that are mostly family owned and operated. The livestock and produces are nourished and cared for in a natural and humane way. They are pasture raised and cage-free rather than confined spaces. It’s delectable, nutritious and ecological and promotes our farmer families.

Food with style
A patty with cheese in between a bun was the beginning of burger era and it has been through many levels and phases. Here at Burger Village, we garnish each of our burgers with its own recommended signature pair. Pick a signature pair or have it the way you want with a variety of bread, cheese and veggies. Burger village pays great attention to a customer’s wellbeing, and by keeping that in mind we have Gluten free, Peanut free and Vegan choices.

Delectable organic grass-fed Beef, cage free organic chicken and turkey, exotic meats like bison, elk, wild boar & lamb are offered on the menu. Tasteful organic veggie, black bean & mushroom patties are kept especially for our Un-meat lovers.

Our bowls of salad are loaded with fresh produce without the harmful pesticides and herbicides. Think about hot aromatic organic soup with healthful and nutritious ingredients. Yummm… Our fresh cut fries, onion rings, chicken tenders, wings and are made in Rykoff Sexton rice bran oil which is Trans fat and GMO free.

An assortment of handcrafted organic sodas and organic milk shakes made with organic fruits can be a great companion to meals offered. A great variety of beer and wine suited to individual taste. Sweet and delicious delicacies comes in form of desserts.

Burger Village believes in Farm to Fork and that is why we work with our farmer families to provide our customer with best quality food which is grown and produced in actual fields or farms. We are a 100% family owned and operated and treat our clientele as a family. We believe that health is an asset that we can choose for ourselves and pass it on to our future generation.

To build your own Burger Village please visit: www.burgervillagefranchise.com

Insights from The King – Balloon Kings – A Truly Unique Franchise

BALLOON KINGS… creates custom arrangements for use at trade shows and corporate events, as well as for high profile personalities and local notables, such as Cardi B, Kim Kardashian, Dave Chappelle, and Paris Hilton

Starting a business and opening a store is never easy, but it is possible and fills you with great reward. Balloon Kings® began in 2011, when King Gene left his job as a third-generation sign maker to become the king of his own kingdom by opening a retail store for balloon creations on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. King Gene made this possible with a great support team, a positive attitude, and the joy it feels to create happiness.

Opening a store, allows you to be a part of a community and watch it flourish before your eyes. Having a Balloon Kings® store is humbling and will make you happy about the impact you are having on the community.

The Balloon Kings® business is more than just a day job, it is meant to be a fun environment for employees and customers to come to each day. King Gene does not see Balloon Kings® as a job, and makes every day a special day for the people around him. Opening a Balloon Kings® is perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to feel like their job is work

Unique Selling Proposition

The Balloon Kings® business model has three main tenets

  • The down home elements of the customer-centric, traditional neighborhood Mom and Pop shop

  • The vast inventory and selection of today’s mega-store

  • And the immediacy of online ordering and same day delivery.

Balloon Kings® creates custom arrangements for use at trade shows and corporate events, as well as for high profile personalities and local notables, such as Cardi B, Kim Kardashian, Dave Chappelle, and Paris Hilton. The professionally trained design team offers both pre-designed balloon creations and custom designs created in collaboration with clients.

Companies from Coca-Cola to Hallmark to Budweiser to IKEA have been training consumers to savor everyday moments for years. But with the advent of social media, the celebration of the little things in life has become a nationwide phenomenon. Research has also shown that savoring and celebrating everyday life and creating special moments is good for overall health and wellbeing.

Balloon Kings® uses long lasting products from top manufacturers to make any occasion special: Birthdays, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Engagements, Weddings, Anniversaries, Baby Showers, Gender Reveal, and Holiday.

Fpor more insights on owning a Balloonhttp://www.balloonkingsfranchise.com Kings franchise, please visit www.balloonkingsfranchise.com

TOP 10 REASONS TO INVEST IN RIKO’S NOW!

RIKO’S THIN CRUST PIZZA…Franchise opportunities abound in every business category, but entrepreneurs interested in the fast-casual space, and pizza, in particular, should have Riko’s Pizza on their radar as a brand poised for growth and success with ground floor opportunities for franchisees.

1. Pizza is a $50.7 billion dollar*1 American passion
The pizza industry was designated as the fastest-growing segment of fast-casual restaurants in 2017.*2 A Riko’s franchisee buys into a growth business with high consumer demand and a track record of solid growth year-after-year. The opportunity to bring America’s favorite comfort food to a franchisee’s local market ranks high among Riko’s attributes as a new franchisor in this extremely, profitable business category.

2. A proven business concept
The Riko’s business model has been refined over a 7-year period prior to expanding into franchise offerings. Riko’s founders have continually tried and revised products, systems, and operations as they evolved into a turnkey operation. Those hard-earned systems are passed to franchisees as easy-to-follow, foolproof guidelines for consistent results. The simplicity and ease of operations hold opportunity for owners with or without previous restaurant business experience.

3. Flexibility for Franchisees
Franchisees can choose from a flexible footprint that suits urban or suburban venues. The flexible business model is designed to work and succeed in any space. Riko’s fast-casual operation features take-out, dine in and delivery. Riko’s full-service casual restaurant features a family dining experience with a full bar and table service. Owners can purchase single units or multi-unit options that are commensurate with their experience and finances.

4. Multiple revenue streams
Diverse revenue streams including lunch, dinner, and late-night business with takeout, delivery, and fast casual dine in and full-service restaurant and bar options, gift cards and rewards programs offer multiple growth opportunities within a franchise.

5. Quality, quality, quality
Attention to details has made quality a hallmark of Riko’s brand. High-quality ingredients — nothing artificial — proven recipes, simplified menu, first-rate equipment, comfortable, contemporary venue design, staff training ensure business growth and a consistent brand image. Entrepreneurs are buying into a brand associated with quality at every level.

6. Streamlined, state-of-the-art business operating model
Riko’s has set standards and developed systems that are easy to follow and easy to replicate over and over. Pizza franchisees can produce consistent, great results. Both franchisees and their future customers are assured of the quality food and service that launched Riko ’s original success in three Connecticut locations. Pizza franchisees are armed with the tools and knowledge to produce consistent, great results. Riko’s is a turn-key business model that works across all processes. The goal: keep things simple and do them the best they can be done.

7. Traditional family values that resonate with consumers
Riko’s core philosophy: respecting family, serving great simple food with a family-friendly ambiance, offers an appealing alternative in an ultra-fast food world. The Riko’s guest experience is warm and casual, fast without being harried. It’s a comforting experience that engenders customer loyalty and on-going, multi-generational business.

8. Comprehensive training & support
A good franchise offering includes support and training . That’s why Riko’s consulted and hired industry experts to develop a first-class training program. A five to six-week long training program — with modules at the company modern training center and owner’s location — takes franchise owners through all phases of the business; covering all the components necessary to effectively and efficiently manage a Riko’s Franchise business. A full suite of manuals provides on-going reference and instruction for owners.

9. Owners with passion
As a franchisor with a passion for growth and quality, Riko’s future is guided by passionate, involved owners with a hands-on approach to day-to-day business as well as an eye on long-term growth strategies. The active 360º business outlook ensures Riko’s is prepared to adapt, adjust, and seize new opportunities as they arise. The formula is set, but it’s constantly fine-tuned for success.

10. Community-centric focus
The success of the Riko’s original locations is grounded in community involvement. Riko’s mission in all franchise venues is to be part of local family life. Franchisees are trained to be local in their location and engage in sponsoring local youth sports teams, supporting school events, donating pizza to community events and more as a means to building relationships and thanking customers for their loyalty.

For more information please visit: www.rikosfranchise.com