A podcast that feeds food & beverage brands

Ep 46 / Brett Spiegel / Cofounder & COO of Koala, Digital Ordering Mastermind

Watch the episode
Brett Spiegel is a man who’s dedicated to creating a seamless, streamlined online ordering experience for restaurants. That’s why he co-founded Koala, a company that provides a premium digital ordering experience for more than 4,000 restaurant locations nationwide. On this week’s Forktales, Joseph and Brett talk about the value of a branded online ordering experience, the importance of recognizing and embracing convergence in the restaurant industry and the exhaustive nature of epic European honeymoons.

Listen Now

Forktales
Forktales
Ep 46 / Brett Spiegel / Cofounder & COO of Koala, Digital Ordering Mastermind
Loading
/

Show Notes

Founded in 2019, Koala is an industry-leading platform that creates premium, customizable apps for restaurants to offer digital ordering. Koala provides a premium experience for more than 4,000 restaurant locations nationwide. Digital orders with Koala lead to higher conversion rates than a white-label solution and an increase of up to 20% in average order value.

Creating a seamless, streamlined online ordering experience that’s free of confusion and obstacles is critical for the customer journey.

Many restaurants are competing against organizations that are continuously improving, optimizing and streamlining the user experience.

When it comes to online ordering systems, the ability to customize the experience and the look and feel of the experience is important.

Machine learning and the role of AI is going to play a key role in the future of online ordering.

Quotes

“One of the gripes that I’ve had with the online ordering process for the smaller (restaurants) is that there’s really no way to make the customer experience tailored to the brand.” – Joseph

“Custom (ordering) software leaves so many brands behind because of the cost to do so. There’s a massive barrier to entry for most brands, which is the cost.” – Brett  

“Our mission was to make premium accessible. Building a tool in such a way that it could be affordable for everybody.”  – Brett

“It’s amazing what’s happening right now. I think what needs to happen is convergence. We’re at the point in this industry where convergence is waving its hands furiously and people are begging for it.” – Joseph

“(Koala is) that holistic, digital interface into the ordering ecosystem. In many cases for many brands it is the expression of their brand to their customers digitally. Another way to say it is, “we are the experience layer that sits on top of everything else.” – Brett

“We think of interfaces as screens but interfaces are really just connections.” – Brett

Transcript

00:00.00
vigorbranding
Everyone today I’m joined by my friend Brett Spiegel he’s the co-founder and Ceo of Koala which we’ll dig into in a little bit I met Brett through 1 of his partners or maybe he’s not a partner but he’s definitely on your team and it was great because. And a couple seconds I realized one of the case studies he was talking about was a mutual client in that’s scratch kitchen so it was a bit of Kimet. It was pretty awesome and then since our since then our relationship has grown quite well. But Brett why don’t you say hello give a little bit of backstory.

00:29.84
Brett Spiegel
Great and and and thanks so much for for having me on you when you reached out I was honored and I’ve been excited to have this conversation. So thanks again. So as Joseph mentioned my name is Brett Spiegel I am the co-founder and Ceo O at Koala Koala is a customer experience platform. And I think we’ll have ah a chance to kind of dive into to what that means but a little bit on my background so I actually grew up in South Florida outside of Fort Lauderdale and went to college at the University Of Central Florida in Orlando as most people know Orlando is the epicenter for casual dining concepts in this universe and so. Um, being one of those people that had to work through college I did my tour of duty through many casual dining concepts and got my start in the back of house I was a dishwasher I was a prep cook a line cook I did some front of house as well. I was a food runner server and ah. Eventually a bartender at the famous Tgi Fridays and you know I can’t say enough to younger people. How important I think it is or at least an opportunity. It is to go work at a restaurant while you’re in college. You know if you have the time. Super flexible hours. You know if you’re front of house. Get some cash in your pocket every day which which is nice and you know working at a very busy full-service restaurant on a Friday night is is character building and soft skill building in a way that that very few other things are at that age and so. You know for all those reasons you know, get get out there and and try it out and you know for me, it just had a lasting impact I mean you know I went on from there to work at an independent film studio I did some work in an advertising and digital and eventually you know landed at a product agency called fuzz where i. You know, oversaw the development of you know, hundreds of mobile applications and websites. But those skills that I learned early on about um you know, calmness under pressure. How to how to speak to people how to navigate you know lots of challenges where where. Instilled in me very early on in the restaurant days. So.

02:41.87
vigorbranding
Nice Yeah I Can’t agree with you more I mean the the restaurant industry teaches So many lessons across so many skill sets that are applicable to everywhere Honestly, um, you know from processes to interactions with humans and. All of that. So I Also cheer with you get a job in the restaurant Industry. You’ll never regret it. So Let’s let’s dive into online ordering So for restaurants online ordering right Now. It’s had a fever pitch.. There’s so many competitors out there from the Pos systems who sort of. Hacked on online ordering a while ago and haven’t really done much to to fix it since then to market leaders like olo who’s I believe now Publicly traded company. They’ve been I think absolutely the gold standard to the aggressive up and comers like Lunchbox who is. Trying to nip at the heels of Olo. Um, what do you think makes for a solid online ordering system and a strategy for a restaurant brand.

03:45.34
Brett Spiegel
Yeah, it’s a good question. So but I think I I really think that there are sort of I would call it 3 key approaches to the strategy of how you’re going to. You know? Ultimately, the goal is to be able to provide as a restaurant brand provide your guests. With a channel to order directly from you right first party ordering and and you mentioned some of the options that are there and a lot of those options are either add-ons or purpose built but there’s a couple more potential approaches were there so one would be just custom build the entire stackck right. Build your point of sale build your your your ordering channels build the api everything in between I’m going to mention it and then we’ll put it away because I think you have to be a little bit insane to kind of really go down that that rabbit hole I mean restaurants are sort of unique. Businesses and that they are a manufacturing center right? They take raw material and turn it into a finished product on site. They’re a hospitality center. They’re an ecommerce center a real estate company. They’re in logistics and so layering onto that a massive technology company as well is probably 1 thing. They they don’t have to take on. Um. But then you have some of these all in 1 solutions like a point of sale that offers online ordering or you know somebody like you mentioned a lunchbox that’s doing ordering and loyalty in lots of different things. Um, and then the third one would be creating a partner ecosystem or a network of vendors that that play well together. To build a stack that has touches on all of those different points and I think that’s the one where you know we’re obviously most most interested in going into and where I think you’re going to have the best outcome because no one company is going to be great at everything. And so if you can find those players that are focused on doing 1 or 2 things exceptionally well and then have a great partner ecosystem to connect to other like-minded organizations that are focused on doing 1 or 2 things exceptionally well then you can have the best in class point of sale. The best- in-class online ordering engine the best in-class frontend user experience. The best in-class c ram loyalty provider. It’s certainly challenging to know with all of these options who is doing that but you find the one that you like maybe it’s your crm. Maybe it’s your point to say oh maybe it’s you know you’re working with someone like olo and who are you working with what is your partner ecosystem look like what are the people that are offering best and class other components and and and bringing those together and I think just kind of just further talk about like.

06:27.30
Brett Spiegel
Why that is the right approach is because if you think about I’ll just take an example of of things that we don’t get involved in at all, you’re using your inventory management system to use their free Kds add on that they have right. The best and brightest minds at that inventory management system like what do they focus on what are the things that are keeping them at up at night. What are the problems that they are trying to solve is it how to make the kds better or build a better inventory management system right? So all of these all in 1 solutions. You know they’re going to. They’re they’re. Top talent is going to be focusing on a couple of areas but these other things that might be more important to your business are not going to get as good of attention and maybe they pivot you know and maybe they just like shell them and start working on something else and you’re sort of left holding the bag. So again I think that a strategy that looks like. Here are all of the components that we need who is the best at all of these things individually and how are they good at working together and you know what are the proof points. What are the other brands that that are using that sort of stack of technology that that I think leads to ultimately best in class across the board.

07:29.74
vigorbranding
Yeah, yeah, it’s interesting that olo hasn’t really jumped into the crm space just yet I don’t know if it’s in their plans or not whereas I think that’s like you said lunchboxes claim to fame. Um, but you’re 100 % correct in that although olo is probably best in class. Um, we know that. They don’t really touch brands that are under I think 30 units or maybe they up to 50 now. Um, so if you’re a small 10 to 12 unit brand. They maybe make an exception but really, they they try to.

07:58.64
Brett Spiegel
M.

08:04.90
vigorbranding
You know they’ll make an exception but probably not service you the way they arere going to service like a a 300 unit ah chain or anything like that and and another so that means that all is really out of the picture. So you’re looking at possibly a chow now or even a doordash white labelbeled system and then on the other side of that is.

08:18.00
Brett Spiegel
Man.

08:22.56
vigorbranding
Friends The pizza industry which are somehow rarely a focus of of these core Products. You know so olo notoriously just doesn’t really work well with pizza. Um you know and and the pizza companies that are out there focused on them really aren’t. Making me impressed I would say they’re really tough and you know because of the the high customization and how every your order is unique and different and light sauce. Heavy sauce regular sauce. All this stuff. It just gets very convoluted so it is kind of difficult to 0 in and I think one of the grapes that I’ve had with online ordering.

08:45.19
Brett Spiegel
Um, yeah, um.

08:59.28
vigorbranding
The smaller guys is There’s really no ability to make the customer experience tailored to the brand meaning you get your place for a logo and in some instances. Maybe you get more than that. Maybe you get Fuller customization. But all in all, you have like 0 control over the user experience. Um, so what? what has your been approach to helping folks realize a better customer experience that’s aligned more with the brand.

09:23.55
Brett Spiegel
Um.

09:29.20
Brett Spiegel
Yeah I mean for us I mean this is kind of like a bit of like the inception of Koala but you know we as I mentioned in my sort of career growth I ended ended up at a digital agency that was doing custom software work. And we got our foray into the industry through shake shack so shakes shack hired us I was the head of customer experience at the time and we built for them. You know, arguably one of the best ordering apps at least at the time that existed in the industry. We won a bunch of awards at least um and we’re like great this is part look at problem solution. Like let’s just rinse and repeat this. The problem is that that approach where it’s it’s custom software. It leaves so many brands behind because of the cost to do so The outcome is obvious right? This is beautiful. It’s performing. It’s on brand but there’s a massive barrier to entry for most brands which is the cost and so. You know we looked at the industry and we say okay on the one on the one side you’ve got you know your your point of sale will give you a free website where you can change the logo maybe colors on the other side. You’ve got working with an agency to develop you know category defining digital experiences and a massive gap in between. And that’s really the initial inspiration behind koala where can we take our experience as an agency building. Best-in-class custom software. But ah, but approach it from the way the rest of the tech stack has gone which is software as a service right. Point of sales software as a service your online ordering your Crm your inbotray management k as those are all software services and the reason that those are incredibly effective is because you don’t have to as a customer as a brand pay for the upfront development right? you you pay a licensing fee. You get to benefit from all of that work. But for some reason that experience layer. Was was was untouched for sass right? that has to be beautiful, unique snowflakes that cost millions of dollars and we were like let’s let’s just sort of challenge that assumption a little bit and why can’t we do what squarespace has done for photographers and for. You know, wedding couples and and have like easy to use tools that give you a beautiful and highly performant you know at the end of the day website and so that’s what we looked at is that gap between you know, free and functional at best and beautiful. Expensive. You know, best in class and said. Let’s try to see if we can put these right in the middle you know, very very inexpensive, very approachable, very accessible but still like high quality and high standards of excellence for what the end product is going to be and built into that tons of opportunities for the brands to be able to express themselves be able to.

12:16.50
Brett Spiegel
To Customize the look and feel um but a heavy focus on on you know, modern Commerce tools which are driven by how can we do more conversions. How can we increase check size things of that teacher. So that was I mean our mission was to make premium accessible at the end of the day very simply stated and so. Best in class building it a tool in such a way that it could be affordable for everybody.

12:38.64
vigorbranding
Yeah, it’s interesting because I think um, it’s really easy for smaller brands to look at the industry leaders and say well I want that like I want the same thing for our brand but you know we’ve been you know at Vicker we’ve been on the other side of the table as it were conversations.

12:46.83
Brett Spiegel
Um, yeah.

12:56.54
vigorbranding
About creating a custom online ordering solution. In fact, we embarked deeply on one for a pizza company that was a client of ours and we did it at a I would say a lower cost than we probably should have but it was more of a let’s see if we can get this because I think what what a lot of leaders. That are not in the either tech or marketing or Martech space. It’s like what’s the upfront cost. Great. That’s going to get you something and it’ll have the basic but then how do you build it? How do you grow it now that’s like an ongoing investment and I think the rare is the case where that’s actually discussed where it’s like.

13:17.30
Brett Spiegel
Here.

13:23.59
Brett Spiegel
And then what? yeah yeah.

13:34.18
vigorbranding
Yeah, you know it’s going to be $500000 to create ah a completely? um, ah agnostic like ah device agnostic experience or or responsive experience. You know, let’s say 4 or $500000 to do that. But then you got to grow it and then you got to start talking about extra features like upsells and.

13:41.77
Brett Spiegel
Ah.

13:53.97
vigorbranding
Combos and how do you actually handle the deals and how does that deal in and integrate with the Pos system that you have can it integrate and I think that’s another thing. So let’s talk about integration for a minute. Um, so there there’s there’s been a sort of ah a great schism in the web world where um.

14:01.36
Brett Spiegel
Yeah.

14:12.98
vigorbranding
There’s the promotional marketing quote unquote website for a brand and then you click order and you end up in this transactional brand website and that that result is incredibly not seamless in experience. Maybe there’s some correlation But. Do you think this is detrimental to brands or do you think it’s like people are just used to it by now and then how do you think we start to overcome it.

14:36.19
Brett Spiegel
Yeah I mean it’s it’s one of the biggest things that that sort of drives me insane about this industry. You know retail moved away from this two decades ago and it’s a thing that you know we are personally. Focused on fixing for this industry and say drag this industry kicking and screaming into the modern area when it comes to to digital. Um I think it’s I think it’s massively detrimental I mean when when you’re when you’re. Thinking about what these digital experiences are ultimately they they are their funnels right? They are customer journeys and you are as a brand putting up such massive roadblocks when you start with like. Look at this great lto we have this beautiful video. You know this imagery like really enticing for this new product that we’re selling doesn’t look awesome. Buy it now and then okay wait go to a location search. Final location. Oh you want delivery type in your entire delivery address. Oh sorry, that location doesn’t deliver to you try again that one. Okay that one does now we’ll go through here’s the menu. What was the thing you were looking for It’s it’s it’s completely lost and like how many steps along that process have you slowly had a little bit of a trickle of people.

15:48.14
vigorbranding
And then you’re completely lost. Yeah.

15:58.16
Brett Spiegel
Exiting the funnel right? and so you know it’s 100% detrimental. It’s funny so I was I don’t know Ivonne Makovic who is the Ceo at spendgo gave a presentation at not the last rlc, but the one before which was in you know four months prior and he he. Said to the audience say everyone take out your phone go to your brand webpage http://brand.com starting play and count the clicks to get something into your bag and then everyone did that exercise raise a hands. How many did it in 2 how many did in 3 the majority of the room were more than 5 and some of them didn’t raise their hands up until they were at 10 right.

16:29.33
vigorbranding
Absolutely yep.

16:34.00
Brett Spiegel
That is a massive Problem. You would never experience that when you went to any either big box or even very small startup retail website but yet this is where the restaurant industry is you know you? you describe it. It’s promotional marketing and ordering. We think of it as content and commerce and. We think that those are just the limitations of the tools built by the platforms. There are purpose built platforms for content. You ever heard of the term cms content managers and they just focus on content and there are purpose built tools for Commerce and you know. Our our mission here is going to be to create and deliver a what? What we call a unified digital experience and it is anything that is digital that a customer can interact with has both content and commerce tools built into it. So Everything is shoppable to what extent we can. Know the user either because they’re cookied and logged in or we’re just sort of making some assumptions based on where their Ip is where they’re located and start to tailor experiences that are personalized to them and allow them to one click get products into a basket taking an assumption that everybody’s in shopping mode. And great. You come to the website because you just want to learn about the brand are you looking for jobs or you want to sign up to be a franchise those things should be easy to find but we need to start from the assumption that you’re a buyer and we start from the assumption that your buyer allow people.

17:55.13
vigorbranding
That’s right.

17:58.71
Brett Spiegel
Off roads into the other things that are important for them but just keep the buyers in the funnel and get them moving through as fast as possible.

18:03.49
vigorbranding
Yeah, you you make a good point. So I think the the Linchpin um or the biggest difference between retail and restaurant is the method of acquisition with retail. You’re like I know you could live literally anywhere in the Us and I don’t care. We’re goingnna get this to you? um.

18:18.33
Brett Spiegel
Yeah, yep.

18:22.63
vigorbranding
So that’s not a big deal. You can you can start to load your card up and 1 of the hurdles that we have come up ah against is book if we load the car up and then it turns out that they can’t pick it up or they can’t get it delivered then they’re gonna be upset and so one of the ways that we approach that I was like well time out they could pick it up.

18:34.69
Brett Spiegel
A.

18:42.24
Brett Spiegel
Okay, okay.

18:42.33
vigorbranding
From ah from any 1 of your locations. So even if I live in Georgia and your restaurants in ah you know Kalamazoo Michigan if if I want to if I’m saying I want to order food from that Kalamazoo location and I want to pick it up. It’s only your business where I live who cares where I live I’m saying when to buy it there.

18:54.86
Brett Spiegel
Yeah.

18:59.69
vigorbranding
And so I think there are ways to streamline that. But for for people listening I Like to think of all user experiences as in real life and so let’s make a click a shifting of workstation or something. So if you think about it if you walked into my restaurant and I said oh. Ah, go to that workstation and select if you want to do delivery or pickup. Okay, so I go over there. Okay I’m done. Okay now I need you to go here and tell me the address. Oh Oh okay I guess I’ll go here. Do you have Pepperoni piece. Hey hey, let’s not talk about that Tell me where it’s going or where you want to pick it Up. You know I mean it’s like.

19:27.77
Brett Spiegel
Yeah, yeah.

19:35.65
Brett Spiegel
Um, yeah.

19:38.30
vigorbranding
5 of those moments. No wonder people drop off, you know when it’s like I mean 5 clicks is a bloody eternity and and every single one of them barrier a barrier. Um.

19:44.20
Brett Spiegel
Yeah, um, and when you think about you know? Yes, there is a frenemy relationship obviously between the restaurants and the marketplaces. But that is you know your delivery partner and also your competition for the order and those have. Massive teams of Ux designers of developers and Pms that are just building better products to reduce the clicks to streamline the conversion and that’s who you’re you’re up against and so you know just sort of putting these sites up I got brand dot and order dot brand dot checking off the boxes. You sort of. Alluded to earlier of like you spend all the money you do all the time you get the thing up and it’s great now what you’re you’re competing against organizations that are continuously improving and optimizing and streamlining the user experience.

20:35.69
vigorbranding
Yeah, and that’s I mean it’s absolutely impossible to compete with unless you make a concerted effort to do so and let’s face it I mean a lot a lot of restaurants I would say a large majority of restaurants delivery. It just simply wasn’t a priority.

20:41.75
Brett Spiegel
Okay.

20:52.85
vigorbranding
You know, even ordering online ordering wasn’t a priority because that just wasn’t their model and but the behaviors have shifted as we all know. Um So how can brands optimize their online ordering experience to drive higher tickets and we kind of talked about what’s standing in the way. But. Um, how do we make it not so Utilitarian So I Think like you mentioned that three Pd and some of these other providers that it is wonderfully Utilitarian you know product price picture order. But.

21:24.45
Brett Spiegel
Come.

21:28.20
vigorbranding
We know that we’re in the business. Not so much of selling hamburgers but of selling our hamburgers in our style with our vibe and our personality and um I think if we stick with the utilitarian approach what we’re doing is kind of like the where we’re bleaching out all of the personality that really drives. People’s purchase decisions after the first couple it becomes a preference of brand not just a preference of food. How do we even begin to tackle that how do we get higher ticket averages and more traffic.

21:50.71
Brett Spiegel
Yeah.

21:57.62
Brett Spiegel
Yeah, well I do think that there is a very you know there’s a couple different ah elements here. 1 There is the very you know, tactful approach to again just to go back to it because we’re obsessed like optimizing the funnel and it is ensuring that you’re focused on you know these these small micro interactions that. Catch a couple people from dropping off just just as an example, we pushed you know I talked about you know how delivery search works on websites we. We actually pushed a feature out recently we call advanced delivery search which is just you want to order delivery. Let’s just start with where we delivering to and then will in the background. Run. The location search. Go location by location validate which one’s going to deliver to you and drop you on the menu for that location right? This is all happening in microseconds for so for the end user you know with autocomplete or even with now save delivery addresses that we’ve launched it can get down to one click from the start.

22:49.80
vigorbranding
E.

22:52.47
Brett Spiegel
You’re into a menu and and the reduction of keystrokes like and we’ve seen a 7 % increase in successful delivery searches from just launching those those those features and the two and a half percent conversion rate increase when we when we launched the the 1 clickck delivery search so I do think that. You know it’s not It’s not necessarily sexy and branded. But it is important to be able to to serve the guests the sexy and branded stuff does come in with you know, ensuring that the tools also allow for a bit of that content to come through right content not just being. You know banner images or carousels or videos but just like the ability to change your copy to be a little bit more expressive a little bit more on brand. Um, you know obviously the colors the fonts the look and the feel customizing the menu to tailor to your exact way that that product customization works. Um, and and and having a a flexible framework to be able to to make changes to experiment to see how those changes are affecting it and as your brand continues to grow and evolve very easily being able to update all of those things to make sure that your digital experiences are matching your your in-person experiences. And then I think the last thing is is personalization and you know you mentioned dola before I know that that Noah glass the Ceo over there has an expression where he’s he’s trying to make sure that every guest is a regular and I think that you know digital has ah a massive role to play there. Can be driven by machine learning if we don’t necessarily know you we can sort of analyze your behavior and the things that you’re adding to your cart create a profile of other people that look like you and then create recommendations to you based on that profile that we’re creating. Obviously if we know you we can sort of tailor content and and tailor product or make recommendations directly to you and really extend hospitality which restaurants are phenomenal at in-person extend it to to digital and you know maybe that wasn’t a big deal three years ago when you know. 5 to 10 percent if you were killing it 20% of your orders were coming through digital. It’s much much higher now the high water Mark isn’t coming down as we see you know restaurants have opened up everywhere and there’s still a large you know portion of revenue is being driven by digital as you know. Younger people start coming into becoming buyers and we see you know gen y and and and gen z coming up. They prefer digital first ordering and so I think that that extension of hospitality again too digital and the tools that we can use to do that whether that just be the brand I can come in and manipulate it the way that I want to be.

25:41.60
Brett Spiegel
We’re layering in machine learning and and and algorithms to sort of real time create recommendations to people all those kind of work in concert to create really impactful one to one connections between the brand and their customer through these digital channels.

25:55.28
vigorbranding
Yeah, it’s um, it’s amazing. What’s happening right now. Um I think what needs to happen is convergence. Um, you know where I think we’re at the point in this part of the industry where convergence is waving its hands furiously. Um, people are begging for it because we have so many different players where you could easily just get murdered by death by a thousand cuts from all the saas out there. So. It’s like I have my crm sas I have my online ordering Sas I have my poss I have. Like kiosk I have this I have this I have this the next thing you know every month you’re just outputting tens of thousands of dollars it’s valuable because hopefully you’re making a ton more? Um, what what’s in the way of convergence between.

26:38.11
Brett Spiegel
Me.

26:45.51
vigorbranding
Pos Kiosks Transactional site transactional site promotional sites crm and the whole ah the whole ecosystem of ordering and marketing products.

26:56.44
Brett Spiegel
Yeah I mean I think the the the biggest thing is that so many at least of these large legacy components were were built in silos in a world that it didn’t matter. Didn’t matter what the tech design. Was going to be of your menu and your point of sale because it only had to talk to the Kds and the Kds was the same company. So like it doesn’t matter and and you end up with you know, 300 plus point of sale options with 300 plus approaches to how to from ah from a sort of data. You know design build menus and you know I just look at that and I just think like we just need standardization and I you know I think that a a layer of standardization. So that all of these things can talk to together what that that reduces like honestly like cost. To continue to expand like us as a technology provider providing that customer experience layer. We don’t want to go do three hundred point a sale integrations that’s incredibly expensive. We’re going to have to pass that expense off to our customers at the end of the day we want to partner with very big players that have very big reach. Create a standardized way that we you know look at menus place orders things of that nature and then we can reach keep keep our costs low and keep our scale low and and and continue to deliver on our mission to to make premium accessible. So I think that the fragmentation the silo development the lack of standardization. Um, is really keeping you know interoperability as a blocker to to this conversions.

28:31.94
vigorbranding
Yeah I love that so we we’ve sort of talked about koala underlying here. But let’s let’s let’s dive right into it. Let’s talk talk about our our marsupial mate what is Koala what’s it all about why should folks be excited.

28:37.63
Brett Spiegel
Yeah.

28:46.76
Brett Spiegel
Yeah, so you know again, we’re we’re we’re trying to so today what we’re doing is we are offering brands with premium first -party ordering channels right? So that is your website your mobile apps in-store kiosk your in-store virtual pocket cloud kiosk whatever you want to call it. And to some extent associate tools as well like like line bussters and and drive-throwater tablets. So it is that holistic digital interface into the ordering ecosystem and in many cases for many brands. It is the expression of their brand to their customers digitally. So. Another way to say it is we are the experience layer that sits on top of everything else. It wrangles all the pieces together and provides beautiful and performant interfaces for customers. Um, and you know we’re layering on top of that constantly better tools to be able to. Manipulate the front end with better expression of the brand focusing again on these micro interactions to move people through the funnel. So we really think of ourselves as building commerce tools and and and tools that can be used and deployed to greater effect of driving conversion rates and check sizes. Ah, part of that is machine learning as I mentioned for product recommendations. You know part of that is just better interface solutions for how do I make reordering one tap. How do I make you know delivery search one tap you know, really kind of like focused on those sorts of things. Um. So all all that kind of bundled together. Is you know, best in class digital ordering.

30:26.90
vigorbranding
I Love that So let’s talk about digital ordering you kind of talked about some things that are happening right now and this is almost a final question but this is a big one. What’s next in the world of digital ordering. We talked about convergence. We talked about some of those other features but let’s maybe look not just down the road.

30:29.64
Brett Spiegel
Yeah, yeah. Now.

30:45.38
vigorbranding
But across the country or something like that like you know in in 5 years what does digital ordering look like.

30:49.41
Brett Spiegel
Yeah, well what I don’t think it’s going to look like is like us all eating in like virtual restaurants in the metaverse as as as much of it’s exciting to get. Sort of caught up in the buzz of of web 3 and what web 3 can be for for for restaurants. There are some folks who web so their website just doesn’t work and so I would hope that in the next one to 2 years we can focus on just doing better basics like it’s not it’s not exciting but but I think that the preferation preparationforation of of just better like just better and more stable. Solid experiences is is is what I’m I’m hoping that this industry will start to take on but beyond that I think that digital’s expansion into on-premise. Something that’s going to be super interesting like we think of digital mostly as order ahead. Obviously there are kioss but now we’ve got the Qr code ordering and and all these other various ways that you know that that consumers can interact with the brand digitally. It’s it’s been in the car for a while. Yes, there will be the ability to if you just cannot take your oculus off to order from a restaurant inside the metaverse and all of these other sort of places that you know digital can allow the expansion of brands to go deeper and deeper into their into their consumer’s lives like. Instead of just like clicking on an ad and Instagram and going to a website like just being able to order within those applications and kind of stay within your experience and just like yeah know I can go for some food great boop and the food shows up. Um I also think that there’s you know I love the virtual brand scene I think it’s a lot of fun like I you know.

32:24.76
vigorbranding
E.

32:34.57
Brett Spiegel
We are just like naturally like experimental and we want to try and do things and kind of measure their outcomes as as some of these digital tools get better and better I think that a brand’s ability to like overnight pop up a really. Beautiful performant website or an app in the app store. That’s for this brand that just never existed days before because the barrier to entry is so low. The capital investment is is basically zero and like really start playing and experimenting with not just brands on marketplaces but brands having. Ah, bigger and more sort of permanent footprint in the world. So I think that that stuff’s going to be super interesting and then obviously machine learning and Ai’s role on continually delivering again. It’s I think just better hospitality by taking more data. And inputs and creating better outputs that are custom tailored to every individual person like I would love to get to the day where you can go to a brand’s menu and you know let’s say like we know that you you usually switch to the gluten-free bun or we’re just gonna go and do that for you right? So now here’s here’s the full sandwich menu. All the sandwiches that you that you know and love and you don’t have to go in and switch to gluten-free anymore. We’ve done it for you or like you know I don’t like tomatoes and so I would never have to say no tomatoes on something. It would just never be there right? 1 to 1 personalized menus. That’s that’s something that I think.

33:56.50
vigorbranding
Yeah, yeah.

34:03.00
Brett Spiegel
You know hopefully will come up and I think will be super interesting.

34:03.65
vigorbranding
Yeah I’m with you on the metaverse I think it’s it’s a kitch. Maybe it’s because I can’t get over that. It’s pretty much second life and I know I’m like dumbing it down a lot but I like look it’s It’s a cool thing I get it. It’s sort of ready player one-ish. But.

34:11.23
Brett Spiegel
Yeah.

34:18.50
Brett Spiegel
6

34:21.77
vigorbranding
We’re almost I think it’s almost just like look over here. Ah and it’s not necessarily a diversion but it kind of is I think there’s hype around it. What I see is better development of wearable Tech wearable tech being integrated into what we wear already like glasses like contact lenses.

34:28.46
Brett Spiegel
And well.

34:36.85
Brett Spiegel
Um.

34:41.15
vigorbranding
And then augmented reality we already have something that could easily converge with how we see which is our number 1 perception point and that’s ways you’re driving on ways ad pops up for a Starbucks or ad pops up for this that and the other. It’s kind of the same thing where I’m walking down the street and you know I hate to make it about advertising but hey agency guy. What do you want? Um, you know, but I mean that’s really what’s going to drive. It is how do people make money on it and um, you know I see that as being a very real thing that’s unobtrusive and then you add in the layer of self-driving vehicles and how fast we are moving towards that.

35:07.93
Brett Spiegel
Yep.

35:17.72
vigorbranding
1 delivery becomes easier but 2 now distracted driving is less of an issue because I’m not even driving and so I can be served up with those ads in my eyesight and it have it not be dangerous I think that’s like the whole new world I would say in 5 years um

35:23.27
Brett Spiegel
A.

35:33.28
Brett Spiegel
Yeah, it’s true. We think of interfaces as screens but interfaces are really just connections and and you know you know when I when I yell out to Google to play some music like there’s no reason why like why I can’t just also say like hey I’m hungry order me the sweet green salad that I normally get.

35:50.34
vigorbranding
A.

35:52.88
Brett Spiegel
Um, you know or you know I can sort of layer things on top of my world. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a physical screen in your hand or on your desktop to be an interface into you know commerce.

36:04.87
vigorbranding
Yeah, and I see metaverses kind of just being another pizza hut was doing this with I think Xbox where you’re playing your video game and you could easily order pizza hut pizza right from your video game. It’s kind of the same thing in my perspective of it but you know it’s.

36:13.92
Brett Spiegel
Um, yeah. Yeah, and that’s that’s great, cool like do that great but like don’t don’t create a destination for me in the virtual world to go and like look at your salad bar like I get it.

36:23.67
vigorbranding
Yeah.

36:31.22
vigorbranding
That’s right, yeah a hundred percent all right cool. So probably the toughest conversation of this or top toughest question of this entire conversation which is if you had 1 final meal where would you eat? What would you eat and why.

36:39.90
Brett Spiegel
You know? Yeah, so um, there’s a bit of a story I guess behind this meal as I guess probably most meals have a story behind it. So so my wife is originally from Poland and. I thought it would be really fun to force my family out of the country for the first time and have a wedding in in the capital of Warsaw. So so we did that and it’s a tradition in Poland for weddings to go until sunup. Um, you know our. Ours was actually at a hotel and so they said we’re so sorry we have to stop us at five because we have to set up for for breakfast the next day so okay I guess we’ll we’ll suffer so you know we went till 5 and then also a tradition is to you know host the guests the next day at

37:17.61
vigorbranding
A.

37:28.83
Brett Spiegel
Get a continuational celebration of of a big boozy brunch and so we did that and then we got on a plane and flew out to Paris for the honeymoon dropped got to the hotel dropped the bag say okay, you know we’re exhausted. You know we’re running off on on 48 hours of just pure adrenaline. No sleep. But we need something to eat and so it just turned out that right around the corner from our hotel was this you know sort of looked good on yelp steak free. Its place called la relay du lareot.

38:00.29
vigorbranding
In.

38:02.70
Brett Spiegel
Which I’m sure I’m bastardizing but we got there. We got lucky because apparently this place usually has a line but we were able to get seeded right away. We sat down perfectly prepared steak. Just absolutely delicious fries and and great wine and it just sort of. The last two days of just anxiety and emotion and energy just slowly started to melt away and I was sitting with my wife for our first meal together alone. You know as a couple it was you know, simple meal expertly prepared.

38:30.95
vigorbranding
Yeah, yeah.

38:39.23
Brett Spiegel
Absolutely delicious. So you obviously can’t you can’t order that meal right? It takes an experience that but leading up to it and the atmosphere and the moment to create the meal. But if they could package it up and have it to me in 30 minutes I would be I would buy it every week

38:42.24
vigorbranding
Right.

38:52.34
vigorbranding
A.

38:57.58
Brett Spiegel
But that that’s that’s it that one’s that’s that one sticks a top of mind for me.

38:59.50
vigorbranding
I love that I um also have a Paris Honeymoon story this is a while back but we we got married in amafi italy and then we went to Rome Venice Barcelona and then we ended in Paris and this is in July. And so let’s just say we were in the habit of taking 2 to 3 showers a day just from being out in the heat and it was wine wine wine wine wine um like like drinking wine not whining um and then rich pizza and pasta and.

39:24.38
Brett Spiegel
Yeah.

39:32.11
vigorbranding
You know we get to Barcelona. It’s even richer food like pieia and again more wine and more wine by the time we got to Paris one. We had a pleasant surprise that it was like about ° there fahrenheit so way to go by jeans and hoodies just to like exist but that was nice because it was a welcome.

39:42.63
Brett Spiegel
He.

39:51.94
vigorbranding
Ah change. But when we landed same thing I just looked at her I’m like dude I Just want a big fat beer and I want greasy fried food. Yeah, just just for this meal. Can I have this and she was like I’m with you where are we gonna get that there was an Irish pub literally right around the corner.

39:59.66
Brett Spiegel
The no more wine. Yeah yeah.

40:07.96
Brett Spiegel
Ah, amazing. They’re everywhere all corners of the world. Yeah.

40:11.48
vigorbranding
I walked in I was like yeah and then it’s they’re the same there as they are here and I’m like that’s all right? and so we walk in I looked at the menu I was like do you have a sampler platter and he’s like ah yes, it’s page one and I look at it and it’s all fried food I’m like yes that thanks and Blonde Ale Fried Sampler platter.

40:25.50
Brett Spiegel
Yes, please. Yes.

40:30.59
vigorbranding
Yes, it’s not healthy, but ah it was delicious and I’ll never forget it for the moment. That’s all right.

40:33.47
Brett Spiegel
Right for the moment right for the I mean that’s it’s that comedy I mean that’s the beautiful thing about the restaurants is they You can always kind of have this. You know your life moment kind of coalesce with great food. That’s perfectly paired. And it just you you remember it forever.

40:52.74
vigorbranding
That’s right, it’s it’s it’s those magic moments and that’s what the restaurant industry’s all about Brett thanks for being on how can people connect with you and koala.

40:54.63
Brett Spiegel
Um, yeah, sure http://koala.io and I’m Brett b r e t t at koala dot I o simple as that.

41:04.97
vigorbranding
Excellent. We’ll have all that stuff in the show notes and we’ll also have links to your social and thanks for coming on. Thanks for sharing your insights I’m really excited about Koala and I think hopefully the listeners are too after this. Ah this episode. Cheers.

41:11.39
Brett Spiegel
My pleasure. Awesome! Thanks so much. Joseph.

 

Share this

Episode Details

Forktales - a podcast that feeds food and beverage

New episodes every two weeks!

Sign up to get notified when new episodes are available.