Launching with Kbox brands
And we’re off! Project: GOLF FANG is now live and we’re open for business. In this latest instalment of the Kbox – Golf Fang blog series, we’re sharing the most recent update on our journey to take off.
As you probably know by now, here at the FODD.network, we’re all about helping others to win at on-demand delivery. Putting you in contact with the very best people, and the most trusted service providers, our aim is to get you to exactly where you want to be on your own on-demand delivery journey.
And to do that, we work with tried and tested partners that we truly believe in. Taking an honest and forward-thinking approach by sharing feedback from our real-life experiences and acquired understanding, we’re here to support one another to do better and go further than ever before.
On our latest venture, we’re working with Kbox. Not only are they a partner of the FODD.network, but also one of the most up-and-coming players in the UK on-demand food delivery landscape. They’re helping us to provide an in-house dine-in restaurant experience within Glasgow’s Golf Fang, as well as on-demand delivery within the surrounding area.
We’ve talked you through the initial planning stage of the project and the set-up prior to launch, but now we’re here, post-launch, to share our story to date. So, strap in tight folks. From the successes and wins to the trials, tribulations and lessons learnt, we’ve got a lot to tell you about our latest venture in on-demand delivery.
The project: Our latest venture in on-demand delivery
Project: GOLF FANG has seen us partnering up with Kbox Global to licence two of their brands:
Absurd Bird – a fun and funky chicken-based menu incorporating a selection of wings, juicy stacked chicken burgers, chicken tenders and waffles.
Absurd Vird – an innovative, flavourful, all-vegan menu mixing it up with vegan chicken burgers, sliders, garlic-rubbed fries, crispy salads and vegan mac and cheese.
Both brands are served up within our in-house restaurant Flip and Dip to Golf Fang customers looking to refresh and refuel after a game of crazy golf. But in addition to this, we’re also providing an on-demand delivery service for customers living and working within Glasgow City Centre.
The menus are pretty much the same, as are the ingredients, and both our in-house and on-demand delivery products are prepared and cooked within our kitchen located with Golf Fang. The idea is one kitchen, one team, one menu and two revenue streams.
Due to COVID, our launch was a little different to that of what other Kbox partners would usually experience.
Typically, restaurants and venues would already have a kitchen up and running, and Kbox brands would fit in as an addition to the business’ pre-existing offering. However, for us, the pandemic forced a delay on the opening of Golf Fang, so we launched solely delivery-first until Golf Fang had the green light to open their doors.
Whilst this wasn’t the initial plan, we ran with it and used the time productively to start Kbox training. Our kitchen teams we’re able to get stuck into training and learning how to prepare each dish, whilst getting into the swing of the processes required to accept, prepare and cook delivery orders.
It gave us a chance to work things out which turned out to be a valuable learning curve and trouble-shooting opportunity before the main event started.
Early sales performance and ratings
On the 30th of August, the tablets were switched on for the first time and we were open for business to delivery customers. As you can imagine, the early weeks were relatively quiet.
Our delivery brands are available on both Uber Eats and Deliveroo. When first starting out on these platforms, you should expect that there’s likely to be a period of a couple of warm-up weeks, during which time, initial sales may be lower than you may have typically anticipated.
Don’t let this knock you, but be aware that it’s critical to ensure that what you are sending out the door, from the orders you do receive, is fresher than fresh, correct, on time and of high quality. First impressions count. So, it’s essential that you are impressing your local delivery customers from the word go.
This also needs to be fed back through the aggregator platforms. Essentially, you need to build your aggregator ratings. Better ratings equal better online aggregator presence which feeds back into sales performance and revenue.
Kbox encourage you to ask your customers for feedback, advising that you write personalised notes on your customer’s orders with a polite request for any feedback about their purchased order.
In-house goes live
After three to four weeks, the delivery pace began to pick up as we saw our aggregator presence building through an increase in delivery orders, particularly on Friday and Saturday evenings. But it was time to level up, and on the 24th of August, we were excited to be part of Fang’s incredible opening.
At long last, the doors opened and Project: Golf Fang was fully launched. From this point on, we were serving both in-house dine-in Flip and Dip customers as well as local delivery customers ordering via Deliveroo and Uber Eats. And, this is where the fun really started.
Now, we’re loving our new venture and we haven’t looked back – rather we’re looking forward and excited for the future. But, if we told you that this was a smooth process and plane sailing from the word go, we’d be lying. And, if you’re someone who works within the catering or hospitality industry, you’d also be able to suss that out pretty quickly, too.
So, we’re going to be the honest folk that we are and share our experiences so that we can support both Kbox, their partners and others who are launching new on-demand delivery brands now and in the future.
Naturally, with any new business venture, there were a few bumps in the road and lots of lessons to learn as the pace picked up. However, we believe this has been key for developing the most efficient and effective processes for our people and customers.
We quickly worked out that, actually, the food preparation itself was the easy part. After all, Kbox have really put some time and thought into their menus to ensure maximum ease, minimal complication and consistent quality. But, there were other steps within the full process that we hadn’t quite considered that certainly required a little fine-tuning.
Delivery packaging preparation
Let’s talk packaging. Kbox have sourced and provided packaging for each delivery dish. And this packaging is undeniably pretty smart. From a consumer perspective, it looks the part and really shows off each handcrafted dish in its full glory. Unfolding to mimic a plate, it saves on washing up whilst doing the job of keeping the food warm and contained so the customer’s experience is second to none on consumption.
But what we didn’t foresee before we started was the time required to put these super-smart food boxes together. Making up one of these boxes was like trying to complete origami right in the middle of a busy service and, it just wasn’t working for our kitchen team. There’s no doubt about it, these ancillary items are just as important as the food itself, so we needed to find a way to make it work for our kitchen team.
We changed up our approach, ensuring that we factored in the box preparation into the entire delivery preparation process. For us, that means being one step ahead, ensuring that boxes are prepared in advance so that our kitchen team can focus on the food preparation when the time really counts.
But it wasn’t just the preparation of the boxes that threw us a little curveball. After one of our prepared order bags set on fire under the heat lamp on the hot window, we realised that we had to be careful about how and where we stored completed orders before they were collected by delivery riders and drivers.
Again, this is something that we simply couldn’t have predicted. But of course, we don’t want to burn down our lovely new kitchen. So, we had to problem solve, modify our approach and work this into the process.
Running in-house alongside delivery
Of course, for us running an on-demand delivery service in addition to an in-house dine-in service is a superb way to generate additional revenue using resources that we already have. And it works. But, without an effective process in place, it cannot be underestimated just how one delivery order can throw out your entire in-house operation.
From our own experiences, we can’t stress enough how important it is to get yourself a system in place that enables your kitchen team to manage both orders from delivery and dine-in customers. You simply can’t leave it to chance. These two revenue streams need to work alongside each other.
At the end of the day, you don’t want your kitchen team to feel as though delivery orders are inconvenient. It’s got to be complementary to your business model. These orders are equally as important as in-house orders, so you’ve got to find a way to support your teams to manage both.
We would by no means say that this is something we’ve completely nailed yet – we’re still learning too and continually looking to improve our own process. But we are moving closer to sussing out our kitchen workflow.
Our advice to those just starting out with delivery brands?
Listen to your kitchen team’s feedback and help them to implement a process that works for them.
Change and improve as much as you need before you get it right
Keep in mind that it takes time for everyone to fall into place and get to that all-important machine learning stage required to run a kitchen at its very best operational capacity.
It’s also worthwhile taking some time to mock-up and run through your process before you open or, carrying out a test during peak times to really see how your end-to-end process plays out.
Our approach may not work for everyone, but it’s essential that you give it time, thought and accept there may be some trial and error initially to get to where you want to be.
To get orders out of our kitchen and to the customer’s table, we’re relying on Deliveroo and Uber Eats delivery riders and drivers to collect and deliver the food. We faced a few issues with delivery riders either not turning up, or arriving but forgetting to inform us that they had arrived.
We quickly realised that it was our responsibility to ensure that we make the collection instructions as clear as possible to avoid any confusion or delay. From what we’ve learnt, our advice would be to provide clear collection instructions on the aggregator platforms you’re using that inform the delivery riders and drivers of exactly where in the venue they need to collect the order from.
This is really important. It’s essential to build good relationships with your local delivery rider and driver network. You need to look after them and treat them with the same kindness and respect that you would your customers. Don’t make them wait around and ensure that your orders are ready and on time.
This is also key for making sure that orders arrive at your customer’s door fresh, warm and within the estimated delivery timeframe.
On occasions where delivery riders fail to show, Uber Eats and Deliveroo enable you to re-make the food and expend the wasted order to the aggregator. Whilst food wastage is really something we want to be avoiding, this helps to ensure that the food being sent to the customer is of the quality and to the standard that they expect and pay for.
As we have said before, this is so crucial for aggregator ratings, and in the long-term, increasing brand awareness, repeat business and customer loyalty – all of which you need to run a successful on-demand food delivery business.
As soon as the Deliveroo and Uber Eats tablets are switched on, you’ll appear on the aggregator’s platforms to potential customers. But what happens if these tablets aren’t switched on? Well, to put it frankly, you won’t receive any orders because you won’t appear on the platform.
During our first week, we realised that our menu disappeared off of one of our aggregator’s platforms, which meant potential customers couldn’t find or order our products. Kbox worked with us to rectify the issue, but without a pre-flight check on opening, this is something that could have quite easily gone unnoticed, until of course, we realised we had no orders coming through our printer.
The takeaway? It’s definitely worth doing your pre-flight checks. On a daily basis, jump onto your phone or tablet and check that your delivery brand and full menu is showing as ‘available’ within your local area.
At the end of the day, there’s not going to be someone knocking on your door if you forget to switch around the ‘closed’ sign, so a quick check now and then will help to avoid any platform issues and subsequent revenue loss.
As any business will understand, particularly over the past 18 months, we’re often faced with moment-in-time challenges that are simply out of our control. Due to problems with logistics and supply at this current time, a few of our own food orders from suppliers have been short by up to 25%.
Whilst this isn’t a long-term issue, it’s still something that we need to factor into our operations. Kbox have been particularly helpful in supporting us to tackle this issue and whilst it hasn’t stopped us from being able to operate, we understand how important it is to remain as prepared as possible.
We’d give ourselves 6/10 at the moment – which isn’t for a want of trying but we know we still have a few improvements to make. Going through the same motions as any new restaurant, whilst contending with delivery on top was never going to come without a few bumps along the way, but, we’re confident we can do it.
We’re learning all of the time – from what’s working well, to what’s not and combining our experience to sculpt something that is really rather exciting and shaping up to be a superb business model and successful money earner.
We’re looking forward to the future of Flip and Dip, our partnership with Kbox and the delivery brands we’re serving up.
Share your experience with FODD.network – we’d love to share your tips
Additional delivery brands?
Originally, we were toying with the idea of adding a third Kbox delivery brand to our on-demand offering. Super Rico, a bright and colourful menu infused with Mexican-inspired flavours that include fresh tacos, low carb bowls, quesadillas and sticky cinnamon churros, was to be next on our list.
Whilst this is something we haven’t dismissed, for now, we’ve put a pause on adding an additional brand to our mix. That’s simply because we need to focus on building our restaurant out and fine-tuning our processes.
We are massive fans of Kbox and love working with them. They really are great people; they are always willing to help and they’ve been there to support us from the word go.
If we had any feedback for Kbox to help them to help other businesses starting up with Kbox delivery brands, it would certainly be to have some form of quick-start sheet, portal or app for businesses that offers advice on troubleshooting challenges during the ‘go-live’ processes of launching new delivery brands. This would help to smoothen out the process and highlight issues that can easily be avoided. This could include:
Planning support – info and tips on being ready to take orders, setting aside time for training, key dates in the run-up to the opening and a list of contacts you may need
Operational support – Tips and guidelines about how to approach on-shift processes (for example prepping your boxes, dealing with problems that may arise such as riders not turning up, regularly checking the platforms and tablets)
We are so pleased with how well this project is going would recommend Kbox as a trusted and reliable partner to anyone who wants to introduce delivery brands to their business model. Kbox have been superb in helping us to fulfil our needs and ambitions and we’re looking forward to what the future holds.
If you’re looking for a slice of your own delivery success, we wholeheartedly believe that this is a highly effective route to venturing into on-demand. It’s a fantastic way to boost your revenue and get more out of your space. And with Kbox, a lot of the hard work pre-launch is done for you, including the research, menu design, marketing, aggregator management and resourcing.
But, it’s imperative to remember that there’s so much more to on-demand than simply cooking delivery brands. Don’t underestimate it. To be successful, you’ve got to treat it as a business within a business.
If you spend time fine-tuning your processes, work closely with those on the front line to build out an efficient workflow and understand that in-house and delivery brands need to work to complement each other, you’ll have the right attitude and, over time, the right knowhow on how to win at on-demand delivery.