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We’ve been blessed to be interviewed on many different podcasts over the last few months; each one has a unique angle and audience. Barry Shuster & Chris Tripoli’s podcast is made for independent restaurants. Independent restaurants were our muse as we wrote Delivering the Digital Restaurant. These small businesses are going through the greatest change in this omnichannel revolution. When we started our book-writing journey, we were thinking always of independent restaurants and how to help them navigate this change. We love that Barry & Chris’s mission is the same – give independent restaurant owners what they need to be successful through and Restaurant Startup & Growth Magazine.

The COVID-19 pandemic affected independent restaurants more than it did chains. Of the estimated 100,000 permanent closures in the restaurant industry over the last 18 months, the vast majority were independent restaurants. The difference? It wasn’t that chains had better food, more convenient locations, stronger brands, more advertising, better labor relations, or more sophisticated supply chains. A digital divide has opened between the large chains that invested heavily in technology before the pandemic and independent restaurants who found themselves racing to play catch-up in 2020. Doordash reports that restaurants on their platform during the height of the pandemic were 8 times more likely to survive than those who weren’t. One can only conclude that those who offer online ordering, frictionless takeout, virtual brands, and all the other innovations we cover in our book not only survived – but thrived.

Podcast highlights:

2:15 How the saasification of the restaurant industry democratizes access to technology.

3:42 The difference between ghost kitchens and virtual brands.

5:03 How virtual restaurant brands are like DNVBs (digitally-native virtual brands) from the CPG and apparel industries.

10:07 3rd party platforms offer restaurants a lot of value – really.

13:09 Nevertheless, 3rd party to 1st party conversion needs to be a focus for all restaurants similar to the travel industry.

16:13 Digital marketing is more targeted tha

n television, and equalizes the playing field between big brands and independent restaurants.

17:00 Restaurateurs of the future will use digital marketing and capital-light expansion to create concepts more quickly than has ever been possible.

17:31 The large chains’ real estate “moat” is becoming less protective in the world of digitally-native virtual restaurant brands.

19:59 Virtual brands enable restaurants to target a different consumer segment than their core brand does to increase reach and frequency.

20:39 Virtual brands use search-engine optimization on the 3rd-party platforms to increase discoverability.

21:22 Virtual brands make micro-niche categories economically viable.

23:15 Technology doesn’t just appear – consumer needs change and technology serves the new consumer need.

26:55 The restaurant recovery will be great: post-covid we’ll eat out more and also continue our delivery behavior.

29:39 Grocery will aim to take share back from restaurants with fully-prepared meals, semi-prepared meals, ingredient kits, and ghost kitchens in grocery stores.

44:12 Independent restaurants have the opportunity to enter a renaissance of food – much like the digitization of the music and TV industries.



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