For more than a year, Winnipeg restaurants have had to quickly adapt and shift to meet the rapid changes around COVID-19 to keep serving customers and to survive. From the outset of the pandemic, SkipTheDishes was eager to help.
“We know that each restaurant is unique, and we wanted to offer customized solutions for our local, independent restaurants along with a support package to help them survive this difficult time,” says Melanie Fatouros-Richardson, Director of Communications with SkipTheDishes.
As part of its ‘pandemic package’ for independent Winnipeg restaurants, Skip proactively instituted a 25 per cent commission rebate in March 2020 to support local, independent restaurants while their dining rooms were required to close. They also offered restaurants the option to do their own deliveries for a reduced rate in addition to no charges for 30 days for independent restaurants joining the network during periods when indoor dining is restricted.
“One of the biggest value-adds to being on the Skip network is the visibility of our restaurant partners. We also are able to provide individualized marketing assistance and have direct access to data that we can analyze for each of our partners. That might include what their most popular menu items are, what customers are looking to find in their area, or how the ways you market your items can have an impact on your bottom line,” adds Fatouros-Richardson.
For Melinda Sayapeth, owner of Sukhothai on Osborne Street, the assistance has been invaluable. She has relied on advice from Rodell Bautista, Regional Sales Manager for Western Canada.
“Skip’s restaurant partners are in the thousands. Rodell witnessed firsthand failures and successes. We were able to bounce adaptation ideas off him and he was able to tell us if other restaurant partners were successful. I seriously felt like I could barely keep my nose above water, so it was nice to have an experienced ear to help me sort through what might logically work and what was me reacting based off sheer panic,” says Sayapeth.
Sukhothai has been on Winnipeg’s culinary scene for more than 20 years specializing in authentic Thai food. It has been using the SkipTheDishes platform since 2015 which meant the restaurant could pivot quickly.
“I was able to reach a clientele that we wouldn’t normally get our hands on. That brought revenue that I feel we wouldn’t have had had we not been partners,” adds Sayapeth.
Miles Gould, owner of The Grove on Stafford, agrees. His restaurant has been open since 2010 and offers a comfortable, classic neighbourhood pub atmosphere with homemade food and drinks.
“The customer base that Skip has is second to none and that’s where they have the edge over other third-party delivery companies, as well as in-house deliveries. They have become a part of our language, ‘what did you do last night? We ordered Skip’”.
Gould says he’s seen an increase in his take-out business since joining Skip in August 2020.
“After years of being hesitant about signing on with Skip the Dishes, I am very happy with the experience we have had, so far. The continued support has been fantastic. They are following our sales and contacting us to make suggestions or adjustments to our operations in order to maximize our sales and exposure,” says Gould, who also notes the platform has helped create a better experience for staff and customers.
Sayapeth also values the support and innovative thinking because they have been reassuring at a time when the situation for restaurants is continually evolving.
“We realized that we’re not alone. There’s an entire team and network that is also invested in our success. If we need anything from a second ear to ideas we may have, modernizing technology to make us more efficient, advertising and promotions. All we have to do is reach out or mention it when they check in.”
For its part, SkipTheDishes says it is continually reevaluating how it operates to better serve restaurants in an evolving delivery landscape. The demand for the platform continues to grow and so does the Winnipeg-based company, which currently has over 3,500 employees in the city and across the country. It will officially move into its headquarters at True North Square later in 2021 when public health guidelines allow for a safe return to workplaces.
Did you know?
- Skip operates in more than 250 cities and towns across Canada, employing more than 3,500 people across offices in Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Toronto.
- In 2020, Skip added more than 1,090 team members across Canada. Skip employees are able to support their restaurant partners in more than 10 languages including Cantonese, French, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin and Tagalog.
- The top three most ordered items across Canada in 2020 were Asian dishes, pizza and burgers while the three most popular cuisines nationally were Chinese, Italian and American/Canadian.
- In Manitoba, the top three most ordered items in 2020 were Asian dishes, burgers and Thai dishes while the top three most popular cuisines were Chinese, Italian and American/Canadian.