Benny Doro, Founder of All Your Foods—a group of food services companies heavily invested in technology—shares his story about the first thoughts he had when the news of coronavirus hit and how he responded to focus on the opportunities ahead. Benny also leaves us with some valuable insight for how you can adapt in your business right now too.
Short on time? Read the quick summary here: 3 Benefits of Investing in Tech: Lessons From a Food Service Business
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So if we didn’t realize the importance of investing in technology 8 weeks ago, we certain do now! Technology has surrounded us. Today, more than ever, we rely on it to communicate with friends and family, our kids are using it for their schooling, 100% of my staff are using it to do the same work they used to do in the office from home, we’ve onboarded new employees using it, and many of the businesses we’ve had on this show are thriving as a result of the investments they’ve made into tech and so it goes without saying that our world would be in a very different place if it wasn’t for the tech we have available to us today.
My next guest, Benny Doro, Founder & CEO of All Your Foods, is quick to give credit for his success, to the technology investments he’s made along the way. In fact, despite being in the food services industry, he really sees his business as a technology company.
Listen to how Benny, Like Daman from Centurion Trucking in episode 5 of our podcast, asked one key question right out of the gate. Who’s going away? Listen to how this positioned Benny to take action towards the opportunities ahead of him without looking back.. Also listen to how Benny, like David from the town of Okotoks in episode 7 is actively using the data his technology provides to make key strategic decisions in near real time about their products, their customers, and the overall business.
Benny also plugs a few key concepts for how he’s dealing with coronavirus and how you can too. From doing more with less, to talking to their customers, actually talking by picking up the phone, and how the best thing you can do right now is to see yourself as a problem solver.
Ryan Kononoff: Benny. Welcome to the entrepreneurs versus Corona virus podcast. Tell us a little bit about all your foods for those that haven’t heard of you. What do you do? Who are your typical customers? And where are you based out of and anything else you’d like to share?
Benny Doro: Sure. Well, All Your Foods is our umbrella company.
It houses several of our brands that we’ve got. It’s based out of Vancouver right now. one of our, main businesses is called All Your Meals. All Your Meals is our healthy meal delivery service, so it’s membership based. You go to allyourmeals.com, you pick a membership, which entails how many meals you want to receive a week, snacks.
You choose your meals every week from a new menu that we put out, and then we make it, ship it. You get it, heat it, and eat it. No assembly required. So everything is fully prepared from scratch. It’s healthy. There’s no preservatives, no corn syrup, and we’re probably shipping out, you know, 5,000 plus of those twice a week.
Currently, we got our catering division called All Your Catering, keeping with the “All Yours” theme. We’ve been servicing the movie industry for quite some time. We only do industrial and commercial catering. We don’t do any private parties or anything like that. We’re doing a lot of volume. We’ve been doing a movie in the street production offices for a time.
That’s interesting to talk about too, because that whole model is going to change. If you can imagine, probably the hot and cold bar at whole foods is also going to change as well. We’ve got Eat Real Meals, which is our frozen food division, so it’s more standards like Mac and cheese, lasagna, chili, soups, you know, stuff mom would make, made the same way.
No preservatives, we make it, we flash freeze it. It’s not membership based, but people go, they choose their items. We deliver that twice a week as well, as frozen, the containers that they come in can be microwaved or put it in the oven and you’ve got pretty much, you know, home cooked mom’s lasagna anytime that you need it.
Always convenient to keep those in the freezer. And, we have, to deliver all of this, our own delivery division called Pacific Cloud Delivery. We have, our own fleet of reefer vehicles, so they’re chilled and frozen vehicles to keep everything cold and frozen as we deliver. We’re completely self contained that way.
We used some pretty interesting technology to keep an eye on our deliveries or the temperatures in the vehicles, where we’re at, any kind of metrics that we need. So, you know, at the end of the day, even though it’s all your food, sounds like a food company, we’re really a technology company because technology runs everything that we do.
And because we’re dealing with a lot of numbers, like, you know, you go to old school diner or italian restaurant and they pull out the pad and paper. That’s okay for, you know, 20 orders, but we’re pushing through probably close to 10,000 individual orders a week right now.
There’s no way humanly possible that anybody’s going to be able to keep track of that or organize all the different variances to the meals, delivery, modifications, allergies, change of ingredients. I mean, that’s a lot of stuff. So our back end, which is proprietary built for us, handles everything that we’ve got pretty automated right from someone putting an order in for their weekly meals to it sorting out, how many of each we need to make sorting out the kitchen lists, the ingredient lists that gets sent to the kitchen, to the procurement list of what needs to be ordered to come in.
So we’ve pretty much got it down to a science now. And that’s across the board, right? With all our brands, with Eat Real Meals, All Your Meals, All Your Catering and Roaming coffee as well. So Roaming coffee is our coffee division. We have a Leer jet of a Ford transit that are outfitted with top of the line espresso bars in them.
They have three bin sinks, the self contained generators, a water tanks, greywater tanks, filter systems. Basically, you can take one out in the middle of the forest and make coffee for two days straight on a tank of gas. That’s mainly for all commercial applications. We do a lot of the refineries around here, a lot of big corporations where they want to treat the staff or they need to provide snacks and coffee for staff.
So again, we can bring a lot of volume with the machines that we’ve got there. I mean, from the drip coffee, and of course we have our in house bakery so we could bring fresh baked pastries and we’re doing that in mass volume too. Some of our things that we do for the coffee. We’re doing up to 5,000 people at one shot, and they’re getting coffee and a pastry within 15 minutes, so we got that figured out.
So that’s in a nutshell, that’s what all your foods is doing.
Ryan Kononoff: Wow, that’s remarkable. And all based out of Vancouver.
Benny Doro: Yeah, all based on our Vancouver right now.
Ryan Kononoff: Okay. And so you talked a little bit about your revenue models. It sounds like you’ve got a mix of subscription-based or membership based. Do you have any products that are sort of priced off the shelf or as is, is that built into any sort of upselling throughout your checkout process, or is it all subscription-based.
Benny Doro: Yeah. It’s all subscription-based. You can add extra meals or add extra snacks to the subscription based model. Eat real meals is not subscription based, so you just, people are buying as they need because frozen food can sit there for awhile.
Maybe they just want to order it once a month. Maybe they’re having people over for a couple of weeks and ordering more frequently so that one we haven’t moved to subscription and everything else is pretty much ordered ahead of time, which is a benefit of the model that we have. Whereas a restaurant, you know, you need to figure out, Saturday might be busy, we’re going to have to get this many lobsters in, and maybe they’ll sell maybe they won’t.
Everything that we do is pre-sold, so the memberships are sold, you know, a week to two weeks ahead of time. So we already know what we need to buy and make for the members. Same with catering, same with eat real meals. We can keep a nice inventory in the freezer, so they’ll get replaced as needed. that product isn’t too hard to make on the fly.
And of course, Pacific cloud delivery, we have gotten a number of reefer vehicles in our fleet, so yeah, pretty much everything is as is.
Ryan Kononoff: Wow. And how long have you had this technology? How long have you been doing this?
Benny Doro: Technology’s been around, off and on for about three and a half years. We’ve just upgraded it again the last year or so to sort of bring it to the scale ability that we’re going to want it to be.
It’s probably going to go through another change. We’re starting to integrate that technology with some of the equipment that’s available out there now for food production that actually talks to the equipment, actually talks to the order system so it actually knows how to set itself up and how thickness to cut things and so forth, and how my dressing needs to come out of the , the nozzle. It’s really incredible what’s taking place out there. Pretty soon it’ll just be all robots putting together your stuff. I can see that coming around again.
Ryan Kononoff: That’s remarkable. And I think I know the answer to this, but what proportion of your business would you say is repeat business? I mean, so much of what you described as recurring, but even when you look at the one-time purchases to some extent, I’m sure you know you’ve got people just coming back once their freezers are empty.
Benny Doro: Yeah. Well, the membership, healthy meal delivery service, you know, it has a fairly healthy turnover, people are usually around for anywhere from four months to two years. Right. But we were getting good turnover there too. 10 leave 20 come just kind of the life cycle of it. And we have a marketing team on that.
We do a lot of Facebook. We’ve got a lot of social media. It’s mostly where everything comes through. Eat real meals. It’s more of the numbers. You know, we don’t even look at the sales of per person. We look at what the numbers are. We know we’re making X amount of thousands of something per week, so we know those sales are there.
It doesn’t really matter who’s bought them, and if there was a dip or there’s an issue, our metrics tell us why or where it came from, or maybe we changed something on the menu or there was something on the website or a message we’d know to go back and be able to fix that. We’re pretty clear with our marketing.
What you see is you know what you’ll get
Ryan Kononoff: and how did you get into this business, Benny?
Benny Doro: I’m actually a investment banker. And a rock and roller by trade, let’s say from my early days. So when I got bored with touring around the world with my rock bands, I was working with the band KISS for a while, was actually managed by Paul Staley for many years.
I mean, I had a really exciting early part of my life doing that. But at the end of the day, it got boring, you know, playing shows for two hours, what do you do the rest of the time? So I started putting together a company back in the day, and we became one of the largest technology companies in the nineties in Canada at one point.
And that’s kind of where I started all this. So along the path I started incubating businesses and buying them, et cetera. And when I saw, a Trend in the market where things were going to go a few years ago, I thought, this is where things are headed, like drive through windows. I mean, especially spend time in America, which I spend most of my time
Now drive throughs are getting more and more and more. I mean, we don’t really see them in Vancouver, but you go jersey, LA, Texas, Oklahoma city. Everything’s a drive through everything. Pharmacy, gas station, gas station stores you can drive up to, they’ll put your diet Coke and bag of chips in your car for ya. You know, I started thinking, these grab and goes are starting a pop up. It’s really popular
People used to drive, get out of the car or wait at home and get it. I thought, you know, let’s get on this before it takes off. And you know, it was the right, right place, the right times. So. It’s about, about four years ago, we started all this. And so far, so far we’ve got it right. I think now with everything that’s taking place, we’ve definitely got it right and our sales, our sales and our, and the messages that we’re getting from our customers and new customers are definitely telling us that.
Ryan Kononoff: Let’s talk about Corona virus. What were your immediate thoughts when coronavirus and Covid19 started to hit the news.
Benny Doro: well, first of all, I thought, who’s going to go away? And at first I thought restaurant’s going to get shut down right away. And if anybody thinks that adding takeout or pick up from these places, is gonna work in a longterm, I’d said to myself, you know, we’re in the right place, the right time.
And the reason being is, you know, our price point for our meal delivery service or the frozen food is pretty much if you went to the grocery store and you’ve got all those ingredients that made all those meals, we’re offering from butter chicken to a Thai prawn salad to our lasagnas to some dill salmon, and we’ve got a wide variety of all restaurant quality.
If you’re going to pay for that, you’re pretty much, it pays the same. It works out to be anywhere from $9 to $13 a meal. Right? So if you’re going to go to a white spot or some of these places around Vancouver, I mean, I know when I go for 2 salads an appetizer and two drinks it’s $60.
I’m thinking to myself, it’s going to be a treat at first, but people are sort of looking at their bank accounts going, this doesn’t make any sense. We can’t afford to be spending $60 for two people, nevermind a family a night.
So I’m thinking to myself, if these guys don’t change their models soon, they’re going to have an issue with it. So sure enough. Our food that’s made for travel, because we’re not making things like burgers and fries that are not going to sit well or reheat well, where the other guys are like the Earls of the world, which did not change their model.
I thought, well. Let’s just keep going where we’re going. Put the message out that we’re addressing the covid 19 situation and we made some drastic changes in our kitchen as far as staffing, you know, social distancing, testing, temperatures, sanitation went up. We have an all new program, and I said, let’s let the public know, and you can see that on our website, our covid 19 message, all the things that we’re doing to try and get it right.
And so far there hasn’t been an issue. I mean, we check, where everybody’s been, who’s a staff. They let us know. We, we pay for Uber’s for them to come to work so that they don’t have to get on mass transit. And you know, they sign an agreement the same to let us know they’ve been anywhere else other than a grocery store.
Then work at home. And you know, a couple of people have stepped out of that boundaries and they have been let go because of that. We just can’t take that kind of risk. So I think we did the right things when this took place, and I think we had the right model that would just fit inside the square peg and the square hole already.
Ryan Kononoff: And so prior to coronavirus, how many staff did you have working for you at that time and what does that look like today?
Benny Doro: Well, we got about 30 something in total with all our drivers. It’s not much more or less than that. It’s probably down about five or six people. We’ve definitely refined some of the departments to do more with less, which is more important.
We want to make sure that there was a breathing room in the space that we had and that we’d be able to move shifts around so that people weren’t stacked on top of each other. And we can really maintain our sanitation logs and really keep an eye on, you know, every move that was taking place in that kitchen.
Cause you gotta figure if all it takes, is you get it wrong, once. Then you’re gonna pay for it for a long time. And we definitely don’t want to put anybody in jeopardy, not our customers, not our staff, not the company.
Ryan Kononoff: So before the crisis hit, what was your biggest challenge as a business at that time, and how has that changed throughout the course of the last six to eight weeks?
Benny Doro: I think it’s pretty much relegated to this town. From what my experience and what I’m hearing was staff. Nobody wanted to work. It was impossible to get people to come wash dishes. I mean, people were coming for interviews and they’re like, I want $20 an hour to wash dishes. I’m like, how is this a possibility?
How business is going to survive with this? I mean, so we went through a lot of people. Sometimes they’d come and go, you know what? The guy across the street is gonna pay me. $23 to wash dishes. I’m like, how is this happening to us here? Right? These people don’t seem like they’re taking the bus to work, so that was a struggle for a long time.
Now we put an ad out, we get stacks of amazing resumes now from a lot of people that unfortunately, we don’t have places to go back to anymore and we’re opening, you know, give some good people at home that they can come to. And hopefully that’s going to come to an end too, and people be a little bit more enthusiastic about coming and getting jobs like we have to offer. Because it’s definitely night and day what’s happening here as opposed to some of the other parts of the country and definitely in the United States.
Ryan Kononoff: Hmm. And so what would you pinpoint as your biggest challenge today that you’re facing
Benny Doro: Biggest challenge today is stay on top of our sanitation and our disinfecting and our, log files and our accountability of the food.
It’s really important that we know who’s touched what, who was responsible for that, that went into the bag? So if there was an issue, we can trace it right back to wherever it came from. So it slowed things down a little bit, which is okay. It’s more important to make sure we really double and triple check it, but as far as anything else goes.
Staff’s been good. Now delivery is much easier because there’s not many, many people on the road, which is was an issue when doing deliveries in downtown Vancouver, we got pretty congested. That’s why we use reefer vehicles. We just don’t have ice packs and the thermal bags for our deliveries, it’s actually sitting inside of a reefer that’s at four Celsius.
So we’ll keep it fresh for days if need be, if we’re driving around the block. So now it’s much easier now than it was. It’s actually not a bad thing.
Ryan Kononoff: And what’s your delivery radius? Are you strictly focused on Vancouver or do you deliver to surrounding cities as well?
Benny Doro: Yeah, we go everywhere. We’ll go to white rock, we go out to Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Lion’s Bay, Delta, Tsawwassen. Pretty much just about as far as you can get before Hope.
Ryan Kononoff: Right on. Okay. So let’s talk about revenues. I mean, you’re providing an essential service to the communities that you serve. What has that looked like as far as revenues? Have you grown? Have you seen a surge in demand for your product and your subscription?
And how has your technology managed the change over the last couple of months here?
Benny Doro: Well, the technology is, it’s, you know, always has it’s hiccups, but. It’s done its job. Just like our delivery software, we use semi proprietary software that allows us to route the vehicles, trace them, keep that eye on the metrics, the kilometers, and even monitors the health of the, the vehicle. Will even tell us when there’s an error code that’s been thrown if there’s, fuels low.
So that’s been in our favor. That hasn’t been a problem. There really hasn’t been much, as far as super growth. And we really had to put the brakes on that because we, you know, we had an influx of business that could have come from a lot of memberships, or actually some companies that were really looking to get out of business and give us their members.
And we thought to ourselves, you know. The last thing I want to do is make a mistake and we can’t afford to do that. So we’ve kind of kept things where they are for the time being. We’re poised for a growth spurt for sure, and we’ll be ready for that once things loosen up a little bit. But for now, we’re at a nice, steady simmer.
Profitable. everything’s working well for now. So we’re trying not to rock the boat and just keep with the status quo.
Ryan Kononoff: And if this persists for six months or, I mean there, there’s talk about a second wave and what that might look like. We really don’t know what the future looks like, but if what we’re experiencing today around just social acceptance of, you know, going into grocery stores, restrictions within the kitchen and on deliveries. What do you see as your biggest challenge if what we’re seeing today continues forward for some time?
Benny Doro: We’ve already started to map out what that would look like and what we would do for that. So we’ve managed to, let’s say, convert our current kitchen and our current routines to fit in with social distancing.
And some of the new cleaning routines that we have, but if we were to, like I say, if were to scale up the business, which we’re waiting to do, we’ve got a plan B in place and it’s going to, it will be expanding to a second kitchen right away to keep that, that distance and also keep the accountability easy to trace.
I mean a lot of kitchen, these production kitchens have a lot of people in a small place. If some of the, like some of the meat packing places. There’s a couple of companies that I know that we’ve gotten stuff from before. I’ve gone into the room where they’re trimming the meat. It’s a thousand square foot room with a hundred people in it side by side, cutting, trimming, packing. That’s not going to happen anymore, right?
So in our kitchen, we used to have a tighter quarters and more people. Now it’s less people spread out and we’ve slowed things down a little. So we make sure we account for everything that we need to.
So we will easily double our capacity if it’s going to stay like this by, firing up our second kitchen, which we, we already have acquired. We’re just getting ready to ramp up and fire it up.
Ryan Kononoff: And I, I know through some of the conversations I’ve had with other business leaders and other business owners, they’ve found that it’s been hard to get people to come back to work.
Are you finding that just socially, people are a little bit more afraid or concerned about coming to work. What does that look like in your business and how have you addressed it?
Benny Doro: Well, first of all, number one in our conversation with anybody. We first explain what we’re doing to run our business in the current situation.
So that puts their mind at ease. You know, we have a stringent set of questions for them about where they are, where they’ve been. Have they been tested or are they living alone? There’s a lot of things that. Well, the factors that come in, we’ve had people that, Hey, I’m a great line cook. I’ve got four roommates, and we’re like, Nope.
Right? You’ve got, you’ve got basically three other people that are going to put you at risk right now. We need, we need to keep, make sure we’ve got people that say, listen, I’m, I’m at home, I’m professional. I go from my work to home and I’m not going anywhere else after that, to get food. So we’ve been pretty good with that.
Ryan Kononoff: So what’s next for all your meals or all your foods? Where do you see your greatest opportunities in all of this?
Benny Doro: Well, what has come out of the situation, which a lot probably the general public doesn’t really think about too much because they see what’s in front of them, which is, you know, my favorite restaurants, maybe not coming back, we’ve seen some closures of some, you know, our favorite coffee shops.
What they don’t see is that some of the food production companies, and there’s, there’s two different kinds. There’s the big guys that do 200,000 sandwiches a day. They get shipped out to gas stations and convenience stores across Canada and America. Then you’ve got, then you’ve got the small guy who does their artisinal quiches and meat pies and that, and then you’ve got us small guy.
Usually they’re tied to a couple of restaurants or a couple of cafes. When those restaurants shut down, they got shut down too. They had no, no place to put their product. There was nobody to buy it from them. if there was a big chain that really wanted to get a couple thousand units of, again, like a lasagna or a sandwich or a quiche, things that we make in house in those numbers they couldn’t do it.
So there’s a lot of them have gone out of business. so firing back up, we’ve been having a lot of calls from restaurants and cafes and some other food distributors. They’re saying, listen, we used to get like five products from five different purveyors, small guys. We got some butter chicken from these guys, frozen lasagna from these guys.
We got quiches from these, wedge sandwiches here. And what, like, so one of the companies, because we have an agreement with them, I can mention them, is Spud. Those companies aren’t around anymore. Now they’re like, listen, when we run out of inventory, companies aren’t going to send us anymore. So we’ve managed to expand, into doing white label of our products for some of the bigger food distribution companies that are around Vancouver.
And we’re getting more and more of those calls. We seem to have found a sweet spot with that too. So, you know, we, if you came to us tomorrow and said, by Friday, can you get me 2,500 lasagnas and a thousand ham and cheese sandwiches and 500 quiches, my answer would be, yeah, we can do that. Not many people can say that.
So we’ve set ourself up for that.
Ryan Kononoff: So it sounds like the message or the opportunity you’re seeing is consolidation now, and in your case, you’re ready to take that on, but it sounds like that’s really what you’re seeing in the marketplace as an opportunity for businesses.
Benny Doro: Yeah. I mean, it’s unfortunate. It is sad when we have those conversations with these other companies too who’ve said, listen, where we used to get this great product from this company, they’re just shut down and they’re not going to come back.
Can you guys do this for us? And we’ve made enough of a, I guess mark in our area that we’re known for that. We’re that middle guy right now, between the guy who can do 500 a day, and that guy that can do 500,000 a day. We can do right in the middle. So yeah, we’re starting to fill a void for people that really need it, because when these places open up, you know, you want to see your favorite sandwich there. You want to see your ham and cheese croissant, you know? And if it’s not there, something’s going to be off and the consumer feels it. So it’s really important for these bakeries, cafes, you know, to open up with what people really want them. And that’s important also for people, right?
They want the familiarity. So we’re going to try and get as close as we can for them.
Ryan Kononoff: So Benny, it sounds like you’re finding opportunities, you’re chasing opportunities. How are you rallying your team around the opportunities that you’re finding?
Benny Doro: We have pretty close communication with our staff. we have a number of systems where you push information through when they clock in, if there’s important messages they will come up and they have to read it before they even clock in.
We have a weekly production meetings. We have manager meetings, administration meetings. We’re always keeping the staff in the know. It’s really important that they feel what’s happening in the company.
The worst thing is when you’ve got lot of staff sitting around going, “I have no idea what’s happening here. Does anybody know what’s going on here?”
We make sure that we’re talking to them on the floor. We’re passing that information out and you know, first of all, they still have jobs and they’re jobs that they’re pretty happy to be at and some of the new people are coming are really enthusiastic. There’s some people who’ve been at other restaurants.
We have one person that had been in a restaurant for like 14 years. And the restaurant’s not around anymore. It’s not going to open again. And for them it was devastating. But they came to us and said, “Listen, I still need to pay my rent. I love cooking. It’s my, that’s my career.” And you know, we’ve given them a new home and so like refreshed and renewed and we make sure we keep a good positive workforce taking place and we’re run like a car manufacturer.
We don’t have a restaurant culture and a restaurant culture I liken to like a top 40 band playing the local bar. It’s fun. There’s a lot of drama, you know, a lot of, you know, proprietary equipment, and I like to play this way and we like our lights, you know, a certain way too. Whereas you go see a band, play the Colosseum in front of 20, 30,000 people.
You know, that’s got nothing to do with what you just saw, you know. At the local bar. They’ve got to get that show right every night. There’s a lot of liabilities. They have a big responsibility to the promoter to the audience, their reputation it’s no different than us.
I mean, a small cafe can blow it one day. Oh, we, we burnt the ham and cheese sandwich, the coffee machine was on the Fritz, you know, people will come back the next day. Send out 1500 bad lasagnas you’re going to make a mark with that as much as you’re going to make a ark with 1500 good lasagnas.
So our food factory, our technology company has run that. When you walk in there, it’s very much like a manufacturing facility. It’s very strict. It’s very military like in there. That’s really how it has to be run to be doing the volume that we do. There is no margin for error. Because you can make one bad sandwich at a subway and someone might get food poisoning, but if you put bad mayonnaise on a thousand sandwiches and you get a thousand people sick and maybe kill somebody. We make sure that that’s never going to be the case with us.
Ryan Kononoff: One of the common themes that I’ve seen across all the businesses that I’ve had the opportunity to interview and to speak with has been this idea right now of feedback and listening to your customers and being innovative and chasing after ways to do just that. What does that look like in your business?
I mean, you just mentioned this idea of a bad experience and obviously a bad experience on scale can be… Have a tremendous negative impact in your business. How are you listening to your customers right now, listening to your staff, getting feedback around, you know, what the delivery process and the reception to that box being dropped off looks like.
What feedback mechanisms do you have in place today that maybe you didn’t previous? Can you speak about that a little bit?
Benny Doro: Yeah, well, the customer is King, no matter who they are. So we have full time, a seven day a week customer service, live customer service that anybody can reach via chat, email, or the most important, phone call.
We also monitor the numbers, so it’s not hard for us to figure out, you know, if we put up 10 new dishes for people to order from, and we. We’ll know in a couple hours what the popular dish is. Then we’ll know after it’s been delivered, what feedback we get from customer service, and that’s brought to the production meetings.
It’s kind of like baseball and the way baseball is played now with all the metrics, how they choose certain pitchers to certain batters. Before it used to be sort of gut instinct, right? I think that left, he’s going to go up against a righty and we’ve got to get match up. Now they’re looking at the metrics, well, how many times this guy struck out here.
So we, we use a lot of that to make our choices. But at the same time, you know, we use a little bit of our gut to like what else is going out there? The numbers say this, but we’re starting to see a lot of this type of flavor profile going out there. So. It’s easier for us to put out a quick survey or also we do a lot of testing with new products where we’ll send them out to 50 or so of our customers and look for some feedback.
You guys get some free sandwiches. All we ask in return is that you’re going to receive an email, let us know what you thought. Did you like the bread. Did you like the ratio of the meat towards the cheese or the lettuce that was put in there. Helps us understand better, especially with new products. And sometimes you think you got it right and you put it out there and you get a clunker and customer feedback and believe you me, compliments come a week later.
Bad news comes within minutes of them getting it. So we’ll know pretty quickly. So we have lots of avenues to get feedback and determined. Where we’re going to go with our products.
Ryan Kononoff: I love that. I love this idea of how data-driven you are, and I mean technology is great, but if you’re not feeding the technology with data, then technology has a tremendous opportunity to fall flat on its face.
And it sounds like you’re really, you know, you’re really digging into all of the different data sources from the vehicles to the different channels of communication you have with your customers right through the organization. So that’s really remarkable.
So Benny, for those that are listening, that maybe they’re struggling in their own businesses and they haven’t figured out how to pivot right now.
Or how to shift or what kind of innovation they can chase after. What resources or suggestions could you make to them?
Benny Doro: It’s all about solving a problem or solving a need at the time. So I’ve had friends who were in business. One was a voiceover professional, and when this hit. Shut down, right. Completely.
And it’s like, what am I going to do? This is the only thing I know how to do. Well that’s cause you’re saying its the only thing that you know how to do. What is online that’s available for you. There’s a lot of websites that require voiceover or some sort of spoken words, or there’s some answering machine companies that you know, want professionally sound voices for their answer machines.
I said, you know, you need to go out there and find out what attracted to you. You might have to make a change. You know, maybe you’re not going to get to do what you really wants to do anymore, but you might find there’s another path that had something that was going to work out for you and make you just as happy.
When you’re a company, though for example, I have a charity in the United States called kids in seats. And here’s a perfect example of it. we take tickets from the New York Yankees, the Mets, the Knicks, the nets, the New York Philharmonic, cause some of my businesses are based in New York city, and we put over 180,000 kids in these seats who are from inner city kids who don’t have a chance.
Right? That’s the business of that. 501 C3 charity. Well, as soon as this hit, do you think there’s a baseball game they can send anybody? Do you think there’s a concert that these kids could go to? No chance. And we know that coming up ahead is not going to happen for a year. So what are we going to do? Well, their donations stopped because there’s nothing to donate to right.
What am I supposed to donate to? We had to quickly change our model and whether it’s a charity or a business, they’re still businesses, right? We still file taxes. You know, maybe we don’t pay as much tax because we’re nonprofit, but we still file our taxes and we still have to do our paperwork just like any other business.
And we’re basically out of business. So we had a quick board meeting, said, what can we do? What is the need that’s out there right now? Well, these kids are stuck now at the boys and girls club. They’re at different agencies that they don’t get to get out and look at watch games anymore than even getting out much, and they have no communication.
So we’re now, we started a new initiative to get iPads and devices like that into their hands so they can watch some sports, stay in the know, keep that education going, have it as a reward right? Well they don’t get the iPad to have it all the time, but when they… basically, these kids would get rewarded with tickets for good behavior to go to the New York Yankees game and we weren’t putting them in the nosebleeds. We’re putting them on the legends seats you to give them the chance of a lifetime, which would inspire them to do something good with their life.
Now we’re putting something together where they’ll get an iPad to watch a movie or to watch a sporting event or a special show, which will allow them a little escape from their current situation.
So we had to pivot to make it worthwhile. And now we’ve got, you know. We got new things happening and new donations coming in for that to keep us going as an ongoing concern either that or we’d be shut down.
Ryan Kononoff: That’s great. So the message I’m hearing from you is that there’s, there’s always an opportunity there.
You just need to look at it from a different angle and, and ask some great questions like what you mentioned, like what can we do, what is the need and how can we fulfill that need?
Benny Doro: Exactly. So if you’re like a small bakery that just sold out of your bakery to the consumers and nobody else maybe find out who’s going to open up and who might want to have baked goods delivered for their business.
Right? Maybe you contact a couple of offices that are going to be having people come back to work and say, “listen, we can offer breakfast croissants to you guys, every morning.” You’ll, you’ll sell more to one office with a hundred people in it every morning than you would probably opening for the first hour of your business.
I mean, you might even find this silver lining out of it all. You need to be willing though to take that chance and to be willing to change. If you don’t change, you’ll probably die.
Ryan Kononoff: I love that. I’ve seen a couple of places now this idea of innovate or die, right? It’s, it’s like right now, that’s the most important thing in business.
You either need to change and adapt to the world around you or you won’t be around and you won’t certainly won’t be relevant tomorrow. Benny, thank you so much for being on the show. What’s the best way for people to reach out to you? If they’d like to connect?
Benny Doro: You can head to allyourfoods.com you can always send me a message through there or if you’re interested in knowing a little bit more about what I do and other facets of my life that you can send a message through bennydoro.com and once you go there, you can pick the business section. You can see the companies that we have, a music, you’ll see some of the music stuff that we do, and there’s a whole chef section where I’ve got probably over a thousand how to make meals with videos and photographs up there for anybody who’s interested.
Ryan Kononoff: Love it. Thanks again, Benny, for being on the show.
Benny Doro: Thanks Ryan. Appreciate it. Thank you so much.