S2:EP16 - Misfit Media's Co-Founder & COO, Jace Kovacevich joined me on the show!
S2:EP16 - Misfit Media's Co-Founder & COO, Jace Kovacevich joined me on the show!
This is a really exciting episode as my business partner and COO, Jace Kovacevich, joined me on the show!
As you know, we run an Agency to help restaurants acquire customers the smarter way through digital marketing.
In this episode, we are going to break down how the industry has evolved this past year, changes we've made as an agency and our book release, Misfit Marketing for Restaurants!
You're also going to learn more about what Misfit Media does and what you can expect from working with us!
Brett Linkletter: All right. This episode is a little bit different than your typical episode, because I interview my business partner and COO, Jace Kovacevich. As you guys know, we run an agency called Misfit Media, and we help restaurants get customers the smarter way through digital marketing. In this episode, we're going to break down a number of things that we've seen over the last year, changes we've made as an agency, but changes we've seen to the competitive landscape in the restaurant industry in general. We're also going to touch on our book release. We also just released a book called Misfit Marketing for Restaurants. I recommend you check out a copy after this episode if you are interested in learning more about growing your restaurant through digital. But this episode is going to cover all kinds of topics from, again, what we're doing as an agency to stay competitive and help our clients stay competitive, what we've seen change in the marketing world and digitally what's going on. We also talk about customer segmentation, the best way to communicate with your customers online and in store, and a variety of other topics. If you want something tactical, you want something you can use and learn today and adapt to your business right after this episode, you're going to love this episode, because we packed a lot of information in it. Without further ado, let's dive right in. Hi, my name is Brett Linkletter, CEO and founder of Misfit Media, the best damn restaurant marketing agency on the planet. Here at Misfit, we help restaurant owners grow and scale their business through strategic online marketing practices. Right now, you're listening to our podcast, Restaurant Misfits. We'll discuss all things related to restaurant marketing, management, and everything else in between growing a restaurant business. This podcast is also brought to you in collaboration with Total Food Service. For over 30 years, Total Food Service have provided the restaurant and food service industry with exclusive interviews to the latest news on products, trends, associations, and events. You can sign up for a free monthly subscription by visiting totalfood. com today. From all the Misfits over here, we hope you enjoy the show. Cheers. Jace, welcome to the show. What's going on, man?
Jace Kovacevich: Thanks for having me on, Brett.
Brett Linkletter: I'm super glad we're finally doing this, because we've been talking about this for, what, a couple months at least, three, four months. Finally doing a podcast together.
Jace Kovacevich: It's been overdue.
Brett Linkletter: We've just had too many damn guests that keep wanting to do this, so we had to push it back. But this is going to be a really, really exciting episode. For all our listeners, Jace is my business partner and co- founder at Misfit. Today, we're going to talk about all kinds of stuff, how me and Jace work together, what Jace does at Misfit, what happened at Misfit this last year during this crazy time, and what's coming, right? Let's just dive into it, man.
Jace Kovacevich: Love it. Which one should we cover first?
Brett Linkletter: Well, Jace, maybe tell our listeners more on who you are and what you do here at our company.
Jace Kovacevich: Sounds good. I'm Jace. I'm the COO here at Misfit Media, and I've been working with Brett for a little over five years now. What my role is at Misfit Media is I really head all of the product and marketing, so what our customers are getting, what our clients are getting, and really helping build out that product so we're getting every single restaurant that signs up with those results. Everything from the advertising strategy to email, text marketing campaigns, everything that our clients ultimately get from us from an agency service, I'm helping the team build those out. And not only that, but staying ahead of the curve on what's new and coming out.
Brett Linkletter: 100%. Because, obviously, as we know as a business for us, we've had a lot of changes. I mean, as an agency, obviously, we can both say it's crazy how much has changed, how much continues to change. Both based on what we're learning as a company, but also based on the competitive landscape, obviously, right? Jace, I think it's funny because I always tell people we've been doing QR code stuff for over a year, two years maybe, but people only started taking it seriously since COVID. You know what I mean? It's like nobody cared until COVID.
Jace Kovacevich: Well, hey, sometimes they always say the opportunities are right in front of you, but it takes a life- changing situation sometimes to adapt those new technologies. Hey, whether it's before or now, we're here and we're making it happen.
Brett Linkletter: 100%. Jace, let's talk about... As a company, obviously, we used to focus solely on specifically turning web traffic into foot traffic. That was our tagline. Now we've ditched that. Tell our listeners what is really our focus. What are the key changes that you think we made in our product, in our marketing for our clients, over the last year because of the pandemic?
Jace Kovacevich: Yeah, so not only has the industry changed, but we have gotten better ourselves. I think prior to the whole pandemic is that there were people that... Delivery and takeout statistically is on the rise, but there's definitely a significant amount small and large restaurant chains that were putting it as a second priority. When the whole pandemic situation hit, it was pretty clear that they can no longer just continue to ignore this and this is going to be an integrated part of their business not just now, but to stay. For us to stay competitive as an agency and really see this trend happening, we had to not only include delivery and takeout as part of our services, but really, really make it a huge part. What we're dealing with now is helping restaurants really find that balance between creating that ecosystem between in- store, takeout, delivery and really making that experience seamless across all customers.
Brett Linkletter: 100%. Something that, I guess, surprised me, but I don't know if it surprised you or not, is the amount of restaurants we were working with or looking to work with that were behind the curve on this. Wouldn't you agree as far as moving online?
Jace Kovacevich: Yeah. I think it's like the gap continues to increase at an ever growing rate. Before, everybody is kind of doing the same thing. Years ago, everybody is used to customers, the walk- in traffic. But technology is compounding at such an incredible rate and restaurants are still choosing whether they're resisting it or going for it. You have these restaurants that are just on the absolute technical forefront, and you still have these other ones that barely have pictures of their food at a restaurant that looks like it was taken back in the'90s. There's just such this wide gap now and the industry is just going through so much change. As you know, we get to see a lot of different types of those businesses on our front, but there's just such a wide range now. It's really fascinating.
Brett Linkletter: Yeah, it is fascinating. I mean, it's one of those things where... Just on the last podcast I spoke to this guy about it, but there's kind of a resistance I feel like to change sometimes in our industry. I think for me on the sales side, talking to all these people, I don't know why. It's like things have been a certain way for so long. I think over time they've always been changing. But now since the pandemic, things have just accelerated the change. We call it the e- commercialization of restaurants, like the move online, all that kind of stuff. Obviously, you've noticed it too.
Jace Kovacevich: What's the statistic now where mobile e- commerce this year has now passed desktop shopping?
Brett Linkletter: Yeah, it's insane.
Jace Kovacevich: It's not 100% caught up yet for restaurants, but you could see where the trend is going and people using their phones more and more for online purchase. You can expect the restaurant industry to trend the same way.
Brett Linkletter: Yeah. Speaking of expectations, that's becoming the expectation for restaurant guests is that they can order things online through their phone. They can have we talk about the same experience online, in store, and through delivery, and all these kinds of things. Jace, let's talk a little bit of that, I guess. Let's talk about how restaurants can utilize these online channels and what they can be doing in store and how they can create, I don't know, the same kind of experience for their guests across all channels.
Jace Kovacevich: Yeah, this has been a huge focus for our agency right now in how we help our clients execute this, and that's creating the same experience that somebody would have dining in at your restaurant. That same experience is going to be created whether a DoorDash driver shows up and delivers your order. The customer wants consistency. They want to experience your food and your restaurant in the same way. But creating that is easier said than done. How do you create the food, the same customer experience, as well as the marketing to really mirror that and treat your customers the same way across all platforms, because that's really what customers expect nowadays. It's not like a, " Oh, this happens in store and this happens when I get my food delivered." They're expecting the same exact thing every single time. How do you create that consistency? That's the tough part.
Brett Linkletter: 100%. I think it's something that people just don't even think about. It was funny. I tell people that someones on calls I get is there were clients of ours that were asking me about what kind of packaging they should use for takeout. I'm like, " We're a marketing agency. We're not restaurateurs. I don't know the answers to that, but I know the channels of which you can communicate with them and create that same experience." Someone else on the podcast, he mentioned, if your brand is a premium brand, you need to invest in premium packaging for takeout. Because like you just said, you want to have that same experience. You don't want to cheapen the brand. If your brand is going to start doing more sales through takeout and delivery because of the pandemic, how do you, like you said, create that same experience? That's the big question. Let's talk about some of these channels though. Because for us an agency, we utilize Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, text, email. I think a lot of people hearing that, it's a little overwhelming. Maybe best how we utilize all these channels. I mean, I hear it all the time is that they're using one channel or another, or they're kind of doing something, but they're kind of not. Really I know for us as an agency it's the combination of all these channels and how they all kind of talk to each other to create that omnichannel experience. What's some advice you could give people who are diving into this for the first time and how to utilize channels best, I guess?
Jace Kovacevich: I have a strong opinion here and what you hear from most people is sort of mixed advice. On one hand, you have people say, " Hey, you need to do Facebook, Instagram, all these channels," because you hear them working for somebody else. In turn, you say, " Wow. I want to get those same results," so you just add something else to your plate. The problem is when people approach all these different channels, they treat them as separate entities. They treat them as separate, and they don't all talk to each other. What we do here at Misfit Media is we are on a lot of these channels. We're running ads on Facebook and Instagram. We're collecting customer's email, phone number, and Facebook Messenger. The difference is, is that yes, you can use all those channels, and yes, you should be, but you better make sure that somebody who's getting a Facebook Ad from you and getting an email, those messages are congruent and you're talking to those customers realizing what platform they're on and adapting the message accordingly. That's the key. That's where most people miss is they're on all these platform and they think, " Hey, just by being on these platforms, that's good enough." But you need to make sure that you have a cohesive message across all of them in order to move the needle and have success.
Brett Linkletter: 100%. That's the thing. It's like you said, they don't talk to each other, right? The other thing is like, it's like the segmentation of customers, right? We were just talking about. The way you're going to speak someone who's a first time guest, a second time guest, a third time, and so on, a loyal guest is going to be different. I mean, before we maybe dive into that though, talk to us about what are some of the benefits to email, SMS, and Messenger? Maybe we go through those.
Jace Kovacevich: What we focus on here at Misfit, and this is actually covered, Brett, a lot in our book too, is the best way to...
Brett Linkletter: By the way, you just said something really cool. We do have a book to mention. It's called Misfit Marketing for Restaurants. Finally published. You listening to this, don't forget. It's in the book, but let's break it down because this is all good stuff.
Jace Kovacevich: Within a customer database, the channels that we like to focus on are text, email, and Facebook Messenger is a huge one as well, with 1. 7 billion active users. Everybody uses text, everybody uses email, but each of those platforms are completely different on how customers are being used to be talked to, right? There's pros and cons of every single one. And just for time's sake on the podcast, we won't dive into it. I think we could actually probably create a separate podcast for every single one of these channels.
Brett Linkletter: Literally.
Jace Kovacevich: But at a high level, let's say you're comparing an email to a text message. I think a text, don't quote me on this, I think it's something like 150 characters, which is letters that you have to convey a message, versus an email, you have a whole... You can have unlimited possibilities to send pictures, write long form- copy in order to convince the customer to take action on whatever you want them to do, versus a text, you have to be super short. If I'm promoting let's say a free appetizer or a happy hour, thinking about how exactly I'm using those mediums in order to communicate, I have to come up with something that's very short and brief and concise in a text. And with an email, maybe I want to describe what's going to be at the happy hour, give pictures of the types of food that's going to be served, show the ambience and what that's going to look like. Now, with a text, you know that 99% of people are going to open that. Email, less people are going to open that. But when they do open that, you have more information to convey to them. Again, every single one of these platforms is just so powerful, but there's such a deep level of knowledge that's needed on every single one of these in order to be successful.
Brett Linkletter: One thing I always think about too, which I think a lot of people don't know, but you see so many restaurateurs spending so much time and energy just killing themselves over building a following on Instagram, building a following on Facebook, which, hey, I'm all for it. But looking at average engagement rates today, what Facebook's done to their algorithm, I mean, why... It's an obvious one for us, but not our clients, that they got to be building a text and email list versus just a following on social media. That's what always boggles my mind.
Jace Kovacevich: Yeah, Brett. I mean, the restaurants that haven't figured this out yet are going to be in for not a rude awakening now, but especially next couple of years as this continues to move. Social media has completely changed. If you're still doing the same social media strategies that you were doing five or 10 years ago, you are doing to be left in the dust. What people need to realize about of all these social media platforms, and Facebook, by the way, led the charge here, but each of these social platforms are trying to create a revenue driving type of sale for their company. In order to do that, they have to get the users on the platform or they have to get the advertisers on the platform to spend money. In order to compromise that, they need to reduce the ability to reach people organically and incentivize the people who are spending ads on that platform to get their advertisement in front of their customers. What you're going to see is... I mean, Facebook, by the way now, Facebook, Instagram, almost zero reach when it comes to organic. You get some, but it's not like it was. But all these different platforms, when they're going to try to monetize and they want to grow from a revenue standpoint, just know your social following is the one that's going to take a hit. If you're not currently thinking about running ads on social media and that's not part of your social strategy, you really, really beyond able.
Brett Linkletter: Totally. Yeah, because that's the thing, like you mentioned, Facebook has the jurisdiction to just change who you're able to reach. People need to realize, they don't own these followers. They're not really theirs. They're just rented space. Facebook can just change...
Jace Kovacevich: You're running them from Mark Zuckerberg.
Brett Linkletter: Yeah. It's crazy to me, and it's crazy to me that people don't realize this. I mean, majority of the time I get on a call, we're speaking to a restaurant prospect, " Hey, what are you guys doing for marketing?" " Ah, well, great food and service, word of mouth, and we're posting a little bit on Instagram and Facebook." That's it. That's really it. It's a problem, and it's a pain point. I mean, Jace, to your point too, yes, Facebook has to make money. That's why they're doing this. But the other thing that obviously we've noticed as an agency even for ourselves and our clients is rising ad costs, right?
Jace Kovacevich: Yup.
Brett Linkletter: That is one thing. Why are ad costs going up every year?
Jace Kovacevich: Yeah. Not just us as an agency have found that this is a lucrative way to advertise. A lot of other people are figuring this out as well. In order to make sure that the integrity of each social platforms are held up, there's only so much ad space that can be given out let's say as a real estate. And once that real estate is gone, now it's whoever wants to pay the most for that real estate is going to get it. Right now it's cheap. It's continuing to go up. And for the people who aren't able to capitalize this and using it as a resource to build their own database of followers on Facebook Messenger, text, email, stuff that's not going to go away, that you actually own, you're blowing it. It's a huge opportunity. And the restaurants that are doing it and doing it well right now are killing it.
Brett Linkletter: I mean, not only on this, but it's, yes, okay, followers are becoming less effective, so we need another platform, text and email. Great. Those things you're going to own forever. That's yours. Also in that note, as we go more digital, more and more will you need a database to create revenue. There's both these things happening and restaurants... I mean, this is why I've been... It keeps me up at night, is the amount of restaurants that just ignore this. They ignore the fact that you need to invest in your business now for the short- term to make money and also long- term with the database. I mean, our company, the whole reason when we run our ads, when we give our free case study, we want that in exchange for your phone number and email, it's obvious we're building a database. We want to be able to monetize this database for the long run for our business. It's something that restaurants need to think about more, is if you don't have a text and email list, if you only are having a following as a way to communicate with your customers, like you said, you're blowing it. This is what we have to think about more seriously.
Jace Kovacevich: It's something, Brett, that they think that something that they did 10 years ago means that they're just good for the infinite amount of time going forward. It's just a totally backwards way of thinking. And unfortunately, it happens all too often.
Brett Linkletter: 100%. Let's talk a little bit about offer- based marketing, because I think some restaurants love it, some hate it, some are like in between. Let's talk about some of the reasons why it is beneficial.
Jace Kovacevich: This is a huge controversial subject.
Brett Linkletter: Oh, 100%.
Jace Kovacevich: And for good reason. People, restaurants especially, restaurant owners don't want to turn their restaurant into a discount brand. For a good reason, right? We don't want people that are just primarily coming back to the restaurant. The thing that people want to understand and realize is when they make that statement, they're treating every single customer the same exact way. When you make that statement, you're basically saying, " I don't want to run deals because I don't want to make my restaurant a deal incentive or a coupon brand." But you're talking like earning that customer for the first time and a customer coming back the fifth or sixth time all is the same customer, when in fact they're very different. And I'll explain why. I want you to imagine, Brett, and this is what we explain to our clients and customers as well, is that you want to come to my restaurant, Jace's Burgers. You've never heard about me before. And in fact, you have 10 other restaurants in the nearby area that you go to regularly. You already know, like, and trust these other restaurants, but I want you to come try my restaurant for the first time. I think that by just posting a picture of a burger online, that's going to make you change your mind about taking time to not go to your other favorite restaurants and come to my restaurant. It's kind of like an egotistical way that some restaurant owners think. What we teach here at Misfit is that it's okay is to give an offer for that first visit. And once you earn their trust, hey, just give them a little bit something in order to get them to the restaurant. Earn their business. They're going to try your food. They're going to interact with your brand, and you're going to get them to come back. But thinking that you don't ever need to run any sort of incentive to acquire a customer for the first time, I think just isn't a smart business in general. There are brands out there that do it, so I want to say that, hey, there's definitely people out there that do it. But in terms of just restaurant churn that people leave, even your best customers are going to leave, and so keeping a constant flow of new customers and having that be predictable by giving them a little bit something to just try your food is a smart move. And I think more restaurants should adapt that way of thinking.
Brett Linkletter: I think there's no shame in making some kind of special offer for someone to give you a shot. Again, like you said, some would describe it as, " Oh, I don't want to discount by brand. I don't want coupon people, this and that." But I think a lot of people, they think about it like the whole Groupon model, which came and it's still here, but I think they definitely took a hit as a business. Because you have people on Groupon that... They are deal seekers. They went to Groupon to look for a deal. They are looking for a deal, and they don't really care anything about the restaurant. They're just always looking for the next deal, looking for the next deal. But for our model, when we're giving these deals or promotional offers or offer incentives, we're doing so because we're like, hey, we're going to reach a brand new customer that's not looking for a deal, but now has a reason to show up to the restaurant and give it a shot. You know what I mean?
Jace Kovacevich: 100%. 100%.
Brett Linkletter: It's a different kind of person.
Jace Kovacevich: And again, we're also asking you to exchange the food cost on that burger to trade off and give me your email, phone number, and subscriber information on Facebook Messenger. Yes, in the initial, I'm trading off that food cost and taking a hit there. But what do I have now? Now I have your contact information. I can message you every month, every week, if I want to, and get you to come back again and again and again and again. I'll take that$ 3 hit on that initial visit in order to get that customer's contact information, because we know what to do with it and we know we can continue to get them to come back.
Brett Linkletter: Totally. That's the thing. I'm glad you brought this up, because yes, dam, we're getting a lot from the customer. We're not asking for a little thing. They're giving us their phone number, their email, their subscription to Messenger. Three different communication platforms that now we can communicate back and forth with them if we want forever until they unsubscribe, of course, if they do, right? But it's a big one. And then the other thing I love that we do, which I feel like I repeat myself all the time on this, but now that we have that data, we can use it to exclude them from future paid ad or promotions, ensuring our restaurant clients we work with that they're not going to be a running a buy one, get on deal to the same audience, because now they're in our database and we can exclude them. You know what I mean?
Jace Kovacevich: Yeah, no, it's amazing what you can do. But you have to have the marketing geared around constantly working to collect a database of customers that know, like, and trust your brand. It's an investment too that you don't see make a 10X improvement on your business overnight. But I'll tell you that the restaurants that are working towards this, that have 10, 20, 30, 000 phone numbers, contact information, those are the ones that at any point on a Tuesday when they're dead can send out a message and immediately fill up their restaurant because they have that resource. If you're not working towards those resources, you never have those opportunities.
Brett Linkletter: What is the cost of a text for us, Jace? I forget. It's like less than a cent or something like that?
Jace Kovacevich: Yeah. Right now you're looking at about one cent to send out a text message. Let's say you have 3, 000 contacts. What's the math there? I don't have my phone in front of me, but I think 3, 000 contacts is 30 bucks.
Brett Linkletter: Yeah.
Jace Kovacevich: Or is it 300? 30 bucks? All you need to do is just get one of those customers. Let's say my average ticket is$ 30 or$ 40. All you need is to send out a text blast for 3, 000 customers for let's say a free appetizer midweek, for example, and all we got to do is just get one or two of those people to come in and that pays for the marketing cost that we did. I can put a large bet down that if you send a text blast for a good offer to 3, 000 people that live within a couple miles of your restaurant, you're going to get more than one or two redemptions.
Brett Linkletter: Yeah. And see, that's the thing, is like... I know for us it's like we want to show our clients a strong ROI. We want to build them this database for the long- term success of their success. And then the last thing I think maybe we should touch on too is just the review generation that we're pushing. The beauty of having that contact information so we can follow up with the customer after they dine in with us for the first time, right?
Jace Kovacevich: Yeah. Segmentation of your customers is key. I talk about that we're getting customers in for that first visit. Now, what happens after we get them... Okay, so the marketing does its thing. We get them to actually come to the restaurant. Now what do we do with that contact information in order to put them into different buckets, second, third time customers? How do we ask for feedback so us as a restaurant can get better? How do we use that contact information to push reviews? All these things we can do with technology utilizing these customer pieces of information not to annoy them, but to actually make their experience better because we're messaging them about things that are important to them based off of actions that they're taking at the restaurant.
Brett Linkletter: Yup. 100%. And I think it's one of those things where I hear so many companies that are getting hired by restaurants to just be their review generation people, just responding to reviews. Well, what about creating reviews? What about pushing reviews? We call it all the time like going on the offense and asking for reviews, right? I've seen it for us, for our clients on reviews on that note, especially on Yelp or Google, right? It's like people don't leave reviews unless they had the best experience of their life or the worst experience of their life. You know what I mean? But there's a lot of people that have... Go ahead.
Jace Kovacevich: Sorry. I'm sorry to interrupt you there. Not getting too technical, but something that we'll do here at our agency is if somebody comes in and dines with us at a restaurant, maybe a couple hours later, we'll follow up with them and we'll ask them how their experience was. But we don't want to send them directly to a review site because we want to know if they actually had a review, then we'll push them to actually leave a review. If they had a one star review, we're not pushing them to Google or Yelp. What we'll do is we'll actually segment those customers and ask them for feedback so we can collect feedback on their experience and make... Typically, if they're leaving us a one or two star review, something bad happened and most likely it's happened to other customers as well. How do we get in front of that and correct? And if they do leave us a five star review, we get their feedback. And then from there, then we can ask them for a review, but we're segmenting those customers to make sure that we're only asking the people who have the best experience for reviews. That's kind of playing offense and defense there, like you mentioned.
Brett Linkletter: 100%. 100%. I think that's what I want listeners who are hearing this right now or clients of ours or anyone who's looking at our company or not and just wants to better restaurant to recognize. There is a lot to this. You have some marketing strategy that's bringing in new people every month. You got some strategy that's now speaking to and nurturing your current database of customers in your database, right? The phone numbers, the emails, and how we're using these channels to communicate with them in the most effective way based on segmentation. Then you have after their experience, what are we doing to utilize that customer in the best way? Hey, we got the sale. Great. But now how can we get another sale? How can we push more dollars into the business? Hey, if it's good experience, how can we leverage that to push our reviews online? You know what I mean?
Jace Kovacevich: Brett, the reason why I came on the podcast today is not to promote our agency, not to talk about our services, but really to just educate people in general about what options are available to them today. I'm really passionate about helping these business owners. What just makes me sad is when they're spinning their wheels around and around just not even knowing what's available to them. The more that I can help out to just get the word about what options are even there, we're helping people and helping the industry move forward.
Brett Linkletter: 100%. On that note, I mean, again, we mentioned it before, but guys, we do have a book. Shameless plug there, I'll put that. But that is the best way to educate people. That's why we wrote the book. You know what I mean? Jace, this thing took us about a year to write.
Jace Kovacevich: It took us about a year to write, yup. The reason for that is that you have these books that come out now that are very short, questionably even called a book. If we're going to put effort into something, we want to make sure that people read it. They're going to get a ton of value from it. And there's going to be things that they're going to learn in that book that they're going to be able to immediately take action on.
Brett Linkletter: 100%.
Jace Kovacevich: That's why we took a little bit longer than usual to get this thing out, because we wanted to make sure that we were putting out our best foot forward here.
Brett Linkletter: 100%, yeah. I know for us, as the pandemic came out and things changed, we obviously were making changes to the book in live time. What I'm really proud of for us in this book is it's pretty damn current. The most current restaurant marketing book you can buy today. That is a guarantee.
Jace Kovacevich: There's definitely some technical stuff in there, which can be implemented right now today, but everything that we're talking about in the podcast today at a high level is where the industry is moving. The principle is that you're going to learn from what we're talking about in the podcast today to what's actually in the book are going to be relevant five to 10 years from now.
Brett Linkletter: Yeah, true, true. All those high level learnings you can get from that. Let's talk about, Jace... Everyone always talks about these problems in the restaurant industry, like rising food costs, rising labor costs, rising rent costs, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. What are some of the problems that you've seen, speaking to all the restaurants that you've seen, these current problems in the space that you see and maybe solutions that help solve those problems?
Jace Kovacevich: Big thing that I see is... I'm going to speak more for... Because I'm not actually at a physical restaurant location, but what I do get to see is I do get to see a wide range of what's happening across the industry, working from all different types of small to large chains, different types of restaurants. And what I can speak from is on the marketing front and how what we're doing for getting new customers, getting existing customers come back more often. The biggest thing that a lot of our clients experience, this is just industry wide, is figuring out how to talk to customers in a digital format and how to do it effectively. I think what people forget sometimes is that now that some people are still at their homes, the people who are uneasy about going out, your communication to people on their mobile phones or digitally has to be very, very effective. What people forget, I think this is important, people forget that when you have an email list of 10, 000 people, those are humans on the other side. Because you have that digital barrier in between them, you often kind of attribute it as, I have 10, 000 emails, or I have 10, 000 followers. Those are actual real people on the other end. When it comes to your marketing messaging, when it comes to how you're talking to them, I talk about segmentation of customers earlier, how can you think about the messaging. And if that person was right in front of you, would you blast something in front of their face or would you talk to them and figure out what do they like and figure out how my restaurant can best help and serve them? I hope that makes sense.
Brett Linkletter: No, I like this.
Jace Kovacevich: It's really adjusting to how that customer that you're used to talking to at the restaurant, how do you talk to them with the same level of effectiveness? It's the same exact thing it's just in a digital format now.
Brett Linkletter: That's true. No, we've never spoken about this before, but that's a really good point. I mean, damn, I like that a lot.
Jace Kovacevich: Brett, you're just dropping fireballs today on me and my podcast.
Brett Linkletter: No, but seriously, I think that's a really important point is people forget. Just care a little bit more. Try to care more. There's people there. They're receiving this text or email. Don't just throw up something sloppy and expect something good to come back from it. The more put in, the more you're going to get out. I know that is a really strong point that people need to think more about. I mean, it's the same thing, if someone walked into your restaurant, there's a certain way you want your servers or your hostess or whoever to greet your guests. And if you had an employee greet a guest in a negative way or a lazy way, you would be on their case and say, " What the hell was that?" Same thing with this.
Jace Kovacevich: Would you talk to them or would you just blast them in the face with a bunch of messages? No. You talk to them, right? You take that same approach to how you do your marketing and you're going to be in a good place.
Brett Linkletter: That is very true. This is interesting. We got to do something with this messaging here. This is good. Jace, now let's talk about what we've noticed changing in the space as an agency and maybe some of the opportunities that we see this year and onwards for restaurants.
Jace Kovacevich: I mean, I think opportunities in this space. I think anytime where turmoil or change happens, usually the most amount of opportunity comes from that, and you can either resist or you can move in that direction. I think the opportunity for everybody listening, whether you're already killing it with your digital strategy or maybe you haven't done anything and you're just getting into it, moving into the idea and understanding how your customers are... And again, I don't mean to repeat myself, but I think that there's certain messages that are consistent and that everybody can continue to do here, but learning how to market and communicate to customers on their phones and be able to do that effectively while creating an omnichannel experience or an ecosystem that is the same messaging across in store, take out, and delivery. The ones that can connect that full circle are the ones that are going to win and where I think the most opportunity comes. I mean, listen, every restaurant has food cost. Every restaurant has to figure out staffing. I think a lot of people that are in the industry who are listening to this already know that. What I can speak to is my expertise, which is helping on the digital side of things and helping get those messages to the customers that they're trying to reach.
Brett Linkletter: 100%. And then the last thing is maybe just how we connect that messaging to now a sale online too. The big thing I always think about is like so many restaurants, they're on these third party apps. And some love them and some just complain about them. But I think everyone needs to have a way where you can order direct. And it blows my mind how little restaurants think about that. Hey, if you're complaining that they're taking 30%, fine. You have the right to complain. But you also have the ability to use some of these platforms to create your own online ordering experience. It's something a lot of people forget.
Jace Kovacevich: Yeah. The online ordering space, just as you've seen brick and mortar retail locations in general, are undergoing these huge changes. The restaurant industry is right there with it. Again, like I mentioned earlier on the podcast, mobile online purchases have now surpassed desktop. What that trend tells you is that more people, whether you're 18 years old or 65 years old, are getting used to purchasing and making shopping decisions with their phones. From an online ordering standpoint, it's like don't sit there and just complain about this situation. There's technologies available. There's online ordering systems that you can really take charge of this. And again, with some of the marketing that I'm talking about and some of these new platforms, you can create your own system to drive sales. You don't need to be reliant on these other businesses, but that's a choice that you have to make.
Brett Linkletter: 100%. 100%. Like you said, you've seen it happen to retail. People used to go buy clothing. Now, they're doing a lot more online. It's the same happening to restaurant. It's going to happen more and more. I think we were already on this trend and the pandemic just accelerated that trend. That's all that happened.
Jace Kovacevich: Yes. Accelerated the truth.
Brett Linkletter: Yeah. It was bound to happen and now it's happened even faster. That's why we're excited as an agency, I think, because now more and more people are recognizing you got to have a digital strategy. I think we went from an agency from being a nice to have service and now a need to have service, because people are realizing, " I'm not getting that walk by traffic I used to. I need to reach people digitally." You know what I mean?
Jace Kovacevich: No, 100%. It's been awesome to be able to help these businesses through this change and also be a part of it. It's been an exciting change. I've definitely learned a ton this last year. I know it's going to continue to evolve. I'm excited for it.
Brett Linkletter: 100%. Jace, I think a lot of our listeners maybe follow me on social. I'm not sure if they follow you or not, but why don't you give everyone how they... Jace posts a lot of cool stuff on his social media, guys. You guys probably should follow him too. If you're interested in more of this stuff, some of the technical stuff, how do they best follow you, Jace?
Jace Kovacevich: You can follow me on Instagram @ jacekovacevich. That's J- A- C- E- K- O- V- A- C- E- V- I- C- H. You can also go to Brett's profile. He'll probably have me tagged in a couple of posts. I'll also drop in, I'm on LinkedIn as well and YouTube, our Misfitmedia. com YouTube, which we post all these podcasts, as well as other cool marketing tips. I'll be on those videos as well. Check me out.
Brett Linkletter: 100%. Yeah, guys. And again, Jace and I wanted to do this podcast today as really just to educate restaurateurs, business owners of what's happening, things you should be thinking about right now and in the future if you want to be successful, because a lot of restaurants closed. We're upset to see that. We know it's been a tough landscape for this world in the restaurant space specifically. I hope everyone got some value today. Jace, that was awesome, man. Thanks so much for coming on. I know you've been busy, but I'm glad we were able to make this work, man. Again, guys, follow Jace on social. Check out our book, Misfit Marketing for Restaurants just released. You can find it on Amazon. Yeah, man, let's get after it today.
Jace Kovacevich: Let's do it. Thanks for having me.
Brett Linkletter: Yup. Thanks.