BEING NIMBLE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN BEING RIGHT, AND 4 OTHER LESSONS I LEARNED BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS
The early stages of a business are a careful mix of vision and flexibility, and that how you implement this mix will have a lasting impact on your business.
The journey to success is different for many companies. There are opportunities, pitfalls and shifts which need to be made to turn your ideas into a successful business. However, one thing that many business books don’t tell you is that the early stages of a business are a careful mix of vision and flexibility.
And that how you implement this mix will have a lasting impact on your business.
That’s because much of your long-term success is instilled in the beginning stages of your company. Culture, differentiation and customer commitment are all formulated from the very early days of your business. And while needs change as you transform from a startup to a larger organization, ensuring you put in the time -- and allow yourself the flexibility -- to hone your product and approach early establishes important norms which run through the life of your business.
STARTUPS AIM TO BRING FRESH CHOICES TO THE OFFICE VENDING MACHINE
Office life can often mean tight deadlines, which in turn often means making tough choices like ‘Funyuns or Fritos?’ when lunch rolls around.
But for those of us who believe that no time starved employee should have to sustain themselves on bags full of salt and high fructose corn syrup, things may be looking up: a new crop of startups are trying to revisit the office vending machine and bring fresher choices to those of us chained to our desk.
One of those startups is Byte Foods. The company operates a fleet of smart fridges installed in office break rooms and cafeterias throughout the Bay Area. The company, started by the husband and wife team of Lee and Megan Mokri in 2015, licenses their fridges stocked with fresh food from local producers such as Blue Bottle and Mixt Greens. Companies pay a monthly service fee, and Byte manages food inventory, payments and allows the employer to check out purchasing patterns with a web based dashboard. Employees access the food by swiping their card, choose what they want, and a bill is sent to their smartphone. Each food item has a small RFID tag on the bottom which helps the fridges determine which items the employee has chosen.
The Mokris ran food delivery startup 180 Eats before getting into fresh vending machines. The current version of Byte is a result of 2016 acquisition of Pantry, a company which made the fridge and software tech licensed by Byte when they launched in 2015. After a year of perfecting the combined offering of fresh food delivery with the product licensing model inherited from Pantry, the company is now looking to expand beyond the Bay Area with the cash from their recent $5.5 million funding round.
VOICE DRIVEN CUSTOMER SERVICE FUTURE OF MARKETING
Adobe's new software analyses voice data to give brands better insight into customer behavior, encouraging more businesses to use voice-driven customer experience.
The company's data analytics arm has new technology that enables data to be measured from voice interactions through Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana and Samsung Bixby.
Colin Morris, director of product management Adobe Analytics Cloud said voice technology was the future of marketing and all businesses should consider it to personalise their services.
RESTAURANTS MERGE WITH RETAIL
New food spending trends have driven the traditional restaurant model to evolve, and as the line between restaurants and food retailers grows thinner, the competition gets more intense.
Some business owners in the U.S. are attempting to combat this by combining multiple channels and expanding their offerings. Establishments like Saturday’s NYC, whose SoHo flagship boasts an espresso bar in addition to clothing; and NYC’s The Blind Barber, which offers haircuts in the front and a cocktail bar in the back, are just two such examples.
If you’re thinking about making the jump from restaurant to retail, here are some things to consider:
- Spend time brainstorming what would be complementary to your business. What are some common and shared interests among your customer base? Ratio Coffee & Cycle, with several locations in Tokyo, sells bike supplies in addition to hosting a full coffee bar. It’s a great gathering place for people with common interests to hang out, talk about their hobby, and shop.
- With the rise in popularity of cooking at home, consider selling pieces of your experience for customers to recreate on their way out. Momofuku Milk Bar accomplishes this by selling pre-mixed cookie mixes so customers can make their treats at home. If you have a signature, easy-to-replicate item with a special ingredient, consider selling the recipe and instructions and pre-packaging it for customers to make and share at home.
- Consider what’s available in your area. If you’re near a popular tourist destination, it’s okay to start small by selling fun t-shirts, koozies, etc. in the theme of the area or your restaurant (who doesn’t want a souvenir?)
This model has best results when starting with a more casual dining atmosphere with strong brand affinity. If people are in a relaxed environment and paying a fair price for their meal, they may be more inclined to splurge a little for the experience and retail offerings.
APPLEBEE'S FRANCHISE OWNER FORCED TO CUT 1,000 JOBS AFTER NEW YORK'S MINIMUM WAGE HIKE
The CEO of Apple-Metro Inc., a company that operates about 40 Applebee’s restaurants in the New York metropolitan area, said he’s been forced to cut at least 1,000 servers in the past year as a result of New York’s recent minimum wage hike.
“We have 1,000 less servers this time this year than we did this time last year,” Zane Tankel told Fox Business’ Stuart Varney on Monday.
That amounts a two-thirds reduction of his total workforce, Tankel said.
THE GUY WHO BROUGHT YOU UMAMI BURGER WANTS TO REINVENT PB&J
Adam Fleischman, the man who brought us Umami Burger, is holding a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, sitting on a chair in front of downtown Los Angeles’ Grand Central Market. It is not the PB&J of your childhood, but rather an enclosed disk that looks remarkably like something from Area 51. The sandwich, and a fleet of others built and branded like them, is Fleischman’s latest project: a new empire of nostalgia-driven, high-concept food that will, early next month, arrive in the form of a sleek sandwich at the Grand Central Market stall. First stop, the 100-year-old food court. Then, if all goes according to plan, the world.
That kind of hyperbole is normal in Fleischman’s realm, and given the wild success of the burger empire he founded in 2009 — a brand harnessed to a deeply addictive, absurdly flavor-jammed hamburger — it is hard not to play along. Fleischman’s talent is that of the pitchman, and what he slides across the counter is meant to be wrapped not just in paper but also in comfort, convenience, even archetype. PBJ.LA, as the nascent sandwich business is called, is a branded delivery mechanism as much as it is a food stall.
“We’re trying to create disruptive products,” Fleischman says of the sandwiches, which feature a round bread made by a local baker he won’t identify, and crimped in a machine Fleischman is equally secretive about — he and his partners designed and patented it. The rounds of bread look like edible Frisbees, the machine a bit like a giant lemon squeezer. What’s pressed inside the discs, the recipes also from Fleischman and his partners: house-made nut butters and jams, whose ingredients and flavor profiles fit nicely into today’s Southern California farm-to-table ethos. Jams made with rosé and stone fruit; nut butters from pistachios and almonds. There’s espresso and organic chocolate, cashew butter and mango chutney, apple jam and Angostura bitters.
“Everyone has their memory of what it is; I think we’ve been able to elevate it and gourmet-ify it,” says Fleischman, your Marcel Proust moment via Don Draper.