How one US restaurant is thriving through a crisis

How one US restaurant is thriving through a crisis

Desperate times don’t just call for desperate measures, they call for innovation and quick thinking.

McDonald’s in Australia is hitting the right notes with existing and no doubt new customers, with the availability of English muffins and milk via their drive through.

The Unites States is not kicking too many goals during the crisis, but in the midst of everything that comes with that battle, there are smart people making inroads and providing hope that a recovery, though far off, will still be possible.

Eric Rivera used to run Addo, a bustling Seattle offering with constantly changing menus, from inexpensive homestyle Puerto Rican to high-end, 20 course meals with wine pairings.

Yet as fear gripped his contemporaries, Rivera has doubled his staff to 10 and is looking to hire more. His sales for March are expected to be more than double that of March last year. And just how did he do this?

He shifted everything to pick-up and delivery, but he used his own staff to make the drop-offs, rather than signing with a delivery service that would take a chunk of his profits. He changed the menu up almost every day – people stuck at home don’t want to eat the same thing day in and day out.

There’s a $9 bowl of food – pasta with red sauce, or pork, beans and rice – to a $15 ramen and a $105 Hawaiian feast for two.  A couple of times a week, customers can tuck into the three pack of heat and serve meals at restaurant quality. He introduced a wine club and pairs that with his meals.

Rivera says that the kind of food customers want is changing. It’s couch food, feel good food. It’s easy and accessible and it’s not breaking the bank.

He sends two of his team out on each delivery – a driver and a runner who communicates with the guest. It is no contact delivery, paid in advance with the tip built in.

Social media is both driving and supporting his initiatives. He takes photos of the food in prep, the vehicles, the menu of the day. Instead of the beautiful images pre-COVID-19, he sticks to practical representation of he and his team getting the job done.

And he is always on the lookout for how to add value – exploring the opportunity to deliver sauce and pantry items.

Rivera is proof that going off brand isn’t always bad if you can find a way to meet your customers’ needs and get your message out there to tell the story.