Digital orders jump 700% in lockdown for Japanese restaurant Yamamori sparking post-pandemic expansion plans
Yamamori began as one restaurant in the mid-nineties. Now it operates three dining premises in Dublin and is the longest-serving Japanese restaurant in Ireland. During the pandemic, Yamamori pivoted to offer at-home dining, powered by Flipdish.
It’s gone well.
So well that Yamamori is planning an additional premise to continue fulfilling at-home orders.
"We always looked at the takeaway experience as the enemy because it was taking people away from us. But the market has developed so much now that it's either you're in, or you lose out."
Pivoting with Flipdish online food ordering systems
Yamamori’s branding, social media and photography were already top-notch and dine-in was always busy. Although collection was available, it was a very minimal part of the business.
“We’d never given it any focus," admits general manager, Graham Ryan, whose father Derek founded the business in 1995. But Yamamori was quick to pivot to new revenue streams once lockdown began.
As Graham told the Sunday Independent, a national newspaper in Ireland, they got takeaway going pretty quickly after the first lockdown.
"From when we closed our doors to when we started shipping food out the door, it was about two and a half weeks."
It took just 48 hours from the initial phone call to set Yamamori up as a Flipdish partner.
“We had already put a lot of love into our website but we had to price everything, work on our packaging, find drivers and make a safe environment for our staff to work in," says Graham. "It was challenging but we got there.”
Restaurant / takeaway
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Premium restaurants need to provide premium experiences
As a premium restaurant brand, Yamamori needs its name and identity front and centre, something you don't get with third-party marketplaces.
Yamamori also wanted to control the customer experience from start to finish, and felt using a third-party delivery app did not allow for this.
"That was really important for us," says Graham, who mentions hearing some "nightmare stories" from restaurants using third-party aggregators for delivery.
"As a premium restaurant, we're really focused on bringing a premium experience to people at home." As such, Yamamori has its own drivers.
Watch Graham explain how Yamamori has partnered with Flipdish to bring in revenue direct from their own website:
Text message marketing for restaurants with Flipdish
One of the perks of partnering with Flipdish is owning your own customer data.
For Yamamori, this means they can identify trends and market directly to customers.
The impressive engagement rates of text message marketing for restaurants is much-lauded, and it has been a real boon to Yamamori.
"One of the benefits of Flipdish is that we're able to create repeat custom by reaching our customers through text," says Graham.
As part of their customer loyalty programme, Yamamori directly interacts with their customers by marketing discounts and deals directly to them through automated text messages.
“The text message marketing works really well. We had to find a balance, like you do with social media marketing. We use it quite tactfully. We’ve been using the Flipdish automated technology that texts customers who haven't ordered in a few weeks with a small discount incentive. It’s all working very well.”
What's next for Yamamori?
Yamamori has plans to open a new separate premises dedicated to running the home delivery operations, once restaurants reopen.
“From the get-go, dealing with Flipdish was really easy. Our Customer Success Manager, Andrew, got us up and running straightaway,” says Graham.
“We spent a week playing around with the software and after that it was very familiar and things were easy to change. There’s a good dashboard for end of week reports. The software is very good.”
Yamamori have been steadily increasing collection and delivery since they focused on it at the beginning of lockdown one in Ireland in March 2020. “From the first week, we were doing about 50 orders. Now our average is 400-500 on a good week.”