B’Spoke Kitchen + Market, a virtual food hall and dine-in restaurant, is redefining hospitality in Barrie, Ontario. Hungry customers can order pierogies, tacos, sandwiches, bowls, and cocktails from five different virtual concepts for takeout and delivery, or they can dine in at the beautiful B’Side Bar.
B’Spoke Kitchen + Market was launched in 2021 amidst a COVID-19 lockdown. With virtual dining as the only option available, the business needed an efficient and streamlined way to accept online orders. When the lockdown eased, B’Spoke needed a solution that would help it balance dine-in and off-premises orders.
B’Spoke Kitchen + Market found what it was looking for with TouchBistro and DoorDash Drive. Since switching to TouchBistro POS, adopting TouchBistro Online Ordering, and implementing the DoorDash Drive integration, B’Spoke has reduced commission fees for online orders and enjoyed smoother operations. Here’s how B’Spoke got to where it is today.
Challenge: Create a Seamless Takeout & Delivery Operation
When B’Spoke Kitchen + Market opened during the lockdown, owner Chris Frechette and his business partner Clinton had to build a robust takeout and delivery business. However, the brand’s original POS system made it difficult to add new online ordering solutions. Every time B’Spoke added another online ordering platform, the business had to add another tablet to process orders. This resulted in an unmanageable sea of tablets, which needed to be managed by a dedicated staff member.
“When we first launched, we had just Pirogi+ and B’Spoke Bowls, and that alone was six tablets: three for each concept, plus our POS, so seven total. And then when we added another concept, that’s three more tablets. So, with four virtual concepts, that would be 12 [tablets], and our POS tablets. So all together it’s just not manageable. Which one’s dinging? I don’t know,” Chris says.
When pandemic restrictions eased, B’Spoke Kitchen + Market wanted to switch to a POS system that could better support the businesses’ virtual brands, as well as the dine-in side of the operation – without all of the extra hardware.
“We were looking for a better solution for our dine-in business because it caught up to our takeout business – it’s 50-50 now. We needed something that was gonna be able to solve both problems, not just one,” Chris explains.
Chris and his team also wanted to reduce their reliance on third-party food delivery services because each of these services take commission fees of up to 30% on each order.
“If we can draw people away from those third-party sites and onto our own, that’s the solution we really want and need. The goal really is to nab them on Uber Eats and then get them to order from us later.”
B’Spoke Kitchen + Market found what it was looking for after switching to TouchBistro POS and setting up the TouchBistro Online Ordering and DoorDash Drive integration.
TouchBistro POS is a mobile POS system that supports both B’Spoke’s growing dine-in and takeout revenue streams with powerful built-in features and customer engagement solutions like the TouchBistro Online Ordering and DoorDash Drive integration.
So what is DoorDash Drive? When integrated with a restaurant online ordering system like TouchBistro Online Ordering, DoorDash Drive makes it possible for restaurants like B’Spoke Kitchen + Market to access an on-demand delivery fleet for a flat rate per order, instead of a hefty commission fee. As Chris puts it, “If you’re already a TouchBistro customer and you want to save a few more dollars on each order, get TouchBistro Online Ordering and DoorDash Drive.”
And for Chris, getting started with DoorDash Drive was not just a savvy business decision, but it was also incredibly easy. “We launched TouchBistro Online Ordering and DoorDash Drive all at once. It was just a flick of a switch, really. It was all automated and very easy,” he says. “It’s really easy to set up takeout and online ordering through TouchBistro. It’s basically the same as building a menu for dine-in and then signing a service agreement with DoorDash Drive, and you’re off to the races.”
Results: No Commission Fees…
“The addition of DoorDash Drive and the commission-free delivery is financially a much better solution for us,” Chris says.
Unlike third-party online ordering platforms, which take a percentage of each order as a commission, a major benefit of DoorDash Drive is that the restaurant is simply charged a flat fee per order that can be partially or fully passed onto the customer if the restaurant chooses to do so.
“SkipTheDishes and Uber Eats all take 30% of our margin. It’s already a tight margin business, so to be able to count on a flat rate of $8.50 for each delivery, it makes a massive difference, especially as the orders get bigger,” Chris says.
To ensure the restaurant’s margins are protected, B’Spoke passes part of this delivery fee onto customers for smaller orders and incentivizes larger orders by setting a threshold for free delivery.
“For orders under $50, we ask the guest to pay a small amount of that [fee]. Over $50 [the delivery fee] no longer is a big impact for us, so we take care of the full delivery fee. It’s a draw for guests to order a little bit more to get that free delivery, which helps our average check size.”
Chris says that using the DoorDash Drive integration is a win-win for B’Spoke Kitchen + Market and its customers.
“We have some local businesses around here that order weekly for the office and they place a 15-or-so person order. They get free delivery, so it’s better for them and we don’t pay that 30% [in commission fees]. We only pay $8.50. That’s a massive difference,” he says.
With the promise of a better customer experience, the option for free delivery, and an opportunity to help the business, customers are happy to order directly from B’Spoke’s concepts after they find out about the direct ordering platform.
“We’ve seen the gradual shift from third-party to direct [ordering]. People start to eventually learn that A, they can get multiple brands from one order if they order directly from us. B, each of our sub brands is a B’Spoke brand so they know where to go to get those orders. And then lastly, that we offer delivery that way, and that they can get a better deal, or as good of a deal, and a better experience because it’s coming directly from us,” Chris says.
… and Smoother Operations for B’Spoke Kitchen + Market
Another benefit of DoorDash Drive and TouchBistro Online Ordering has been smoother operations. With data flowing seamlessly between the systems, B’Spoke no longer needs a dedicated staff member to man a sea of tablets and monitor incoming orders.
“Auto-accept really makes a big difference in the way we operate, because we have so many orders coming from so many different places. It used to be a person’s entire job to accept orders on tablets and it was just not feasible, so the integration with the TouchBistro POS really makes a difference. Now, you’re talking a three-person job down to a zero-person job,” Chris says.
Not only is order management seamless, but so is the handoff process. From the DoorDash driver’s perspective, the experience is “100% the same as any other DoorDash delivery,” Chris explains.
“Drivers say they’re from DoorDash and they show us their app and it’s the same from their perspective, from what I can tell. For us, it’s labeled differently on the chit, but other than that, [DoorDash Drive orders are] the same as a SkipTheDishes, Uber Eats, or regular DoorDash order because it’s all integrated through Deliverect,” Chris says.
Looking Ahead: Expansion for B’Spoke Kitchen + Market
By using TouchBistro POS and the TouchBistro Online Ordering and DoorDash Drive integration, B’Spoke Kitchen + Market has experienced sustainable growth both in-venue and online. Thanks to this success, Chris and his team have expansion plans on the horizon.
“This location’s been pretty successful so far and we think it’s a good concept for expansion. We are planning and hoping to have another location by the end of this year. Whether it’s a brick and mortar [venue], or a ghost kitchen, I don’t know yet, but we’re hoping [to open] by the end of the year,” he says.
Katherine is the Content Marketing Manager at TouchBistro, where she writes about trending topics in food and restaurants. The opposite of a picky eater, she’ll try (almost) anything at least once. Whether it’s chowing down on camel burgers in Morocco or snacking on octopus dumplings in Japan, she’s always up for new food experiences.