Updated: Mar 10
By Andrew Parr
Rejoining our hungry heroes (my wife and I), we pick up from last week; snuggled on that blue mid-mod couch and scrolling social media to explore dinner delivery options. We did indeed find restaurants that were telling us their story! Each of the last two weekends we ordered from local, independent, neighborhood restaurants. One of them allowed us to order from the restaurant’s web site, yet also encouraged us to download their app and order from there (which we did with the enticement of 15% off our first order). Notice how I talk about the app like it is actually a location? The app is not an “it,” the app is a “there.” This is how our thinking has evolved. We desire the sense of belonging that restaurants provide for us to such a degree that we imagine their virtual extensions as “being there.”
What are some of the factors that went into the decision-making process, you may ask? Worry, not, I’m about to tell you: We found restaurants with a digital presence that made us feel welcome, which used photography that told their story and those of their staff members, which we already trusted from past experiences, and which had previously showed us gratitude and appreciation. “Thank you, Andrew” on the outside of a bag in thick, black Sharpie actually does go a long way. The restaurants’ visual identity showed me what they stand for and what I can expect from them. Afterall, as Simon Sinek says, “People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”
Functionally, the ordering process was easy (if I can’t quickly figure out how to order what I want, I’m off to the next choice) and provided me with the option to order additional items that would last much longer than the meal. CPG (consumer packaged goods) is another lifeline to my favorite restaurants. CPG allows me to feel that sense of belonging to that restaurant long after the food I just ordered. Having a restaurant’s branded chicken salt, Peri-Peri sauce, or any other ingredient I can use while cooking at home is comforting and makes me happy. Another function I love to see is when restaurants put their specials or most popular items at the top. It appeals to my sense of adventure. I may already know what I want, but if I trust you, I also might be persuaded to try something new. Let’s face it, sometimes in this pandemic existence of ours, we can fall into routine and become one dimensional. But really, that’s not who we are, and what I want on Tuesday is often radically different than what I want on Saturday; influenced directly by my sense of time and place.
Ultimately, knowing who your customer is, where they are and what motivates them are the keys to telling that story that will motivate them to engage, and ultimately to buy (and buy again). Better yet, if you engage me by commenting on a post I make about your food or my experience, I will remember that. And I will share that with the people I know. And the people I know trust me, so…they will likely trust you!
To learn more and join in, check out the video podcast; link to the episode on YouTube here, where you can also explore the playlist for the entire series.
Andrew Parr, Angry Olive Consulting's Founder, is a restaurant and hospitality industry leader with over 25 years of experience including consulting, project management, restaurant operations and talent acquisition. His education includes a BA in Psychology and History from the University of Wisconsin along with a JD from Hamline University School of Law.
Andrew was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, and currently resides in Denver with his wife Jody and their dog Cooper. Andrew is a Past President of the Board of Directors for the Scleroderma Foundation – Rocky Mountain Chapter.