How one of the main chefs of Córdoba migrated his restaurants to “delivery”

Javier Rodríguez often insists that his restaurants do not sell food, but “hospitality”. In this way, he describes the extent to which each person’s proposal far exceeds the gastronomic (excel in El Papagayo, excellent in Standard 69, those who know agree) to constitute an experience full of details and perfect service.

  • The secrets of El Papagayo

That explains the profile of “clients-fans “ that both places have developed in recent years. And it gives an idea of ​​how complex it is to transfer that experience to the only respirator -help as a palliative- that gastronomy accesses today: sale via delivery.

“Before this they offered us all the time to do deliveryBut we never wanted to because we believed that the service and experience should be identical to those in the salon, from the moment people called to order something and the food arrived perfect, “says Rodríguez.

But, after the first days of quarantine, in “shock”And preventive lockdown of almost his entire team of 80 employees, and driven by the need to generate movement and the clients’ own requests, Rodríguez launched into a debut with take-away food.

First it was with Standard 69; and even today delivery, although “reversed”, El Papagayo, for many the best restaurant in Córdoba.

In the middle, the only one of his businesses that has always been active is the cantina of the Allende Cerro sanatorium, although with a very reduced scheme. “Due to the closure of everything ambulatory, the flow of people and the normal operation fell a lot. Today they work 13 percent of the usual”; Explain.

Network survey

The first step to encourage yourself delivery It was to consult customers via social networks (a channel widely used by his locals and himself): what dishes from Standard 69 were your favorites and what would you like to eat at home?

Before, the chef had already made contact preparing some of those live Instagram dishes.

The action produced a list of seven favorites that, added to the products of its bakery Bakery 69, were offered to take away. Prices were on average 20 percent below par. And they could prepare 35 servings of each item; only afternoon and dinner.

Flurry of orders

“The first day, the demand was overwhelming. We announced that since 16 we took orders by WhatsApp and, when we looked, before 4 there were already 80 orders,” reveals Rodríguez.

The debut went through as best it could. And day by day, with his team, the chef was organizing each aspect of the new service and facing the multiple challenges of an unprecedented experience for all: shipping modes, packaging and totally new logistics in their kitchens, which operate with fewer people and receive peak orders at the same time.

“We were ordering. The great challenge is to transfer the experience, which, of course, is not the same. With El Papagayo it is directly impossible, so we apply changes. We work so that the food arrives better every day and to more areas. The clients asked for north and south, and now, thanks to an alliance with a logistics company, we can attend both days for two days, “he says.

“The attitude of the clients was extraordinary from the beginning: understanding, supportive and with excellent feedback. Even now they have joined a relief campaign that we launched, “he says.

Today Standard 69 does delivery from Monday to Monday for lunch, snacks and dinner, and was able to incorporate novelties into the starter dishes. The Papagayo also offers shipments, but from Monday to Friday and only at lunch.

“The experience of El Papagayo cannot be carried by delivery. That is why we make, in our own way, three typical dishes, rich, accessible and that everyone likes: locro, humita and empanadas. Soon we are going to expand the shipping area ”, clarifies the chef.

Participation

Let’s go back to something: the delivery Far from replacing billing on hold with the pandemic. It is, yes, a vital palliative: it allows to leave the zero box scenario, develop valuable know how and – very important – keep the relationship with customers alive and even add new ones.

“It is contributing around 20 percent of the usual turnover. Impossible to think that our structure of 80 employees and various stores can be maintained with this,” synthesizes Rodríguez.

Meanwhile, he highlights the need for strong aid to arrive in this situation. “Our absolute priority is wages. We did not reduce any and we kept all our staff, even people who had recently joined. Together we are fighting this, but the situation is analyzed day by day,” he acknowledges.

On the salaries of the staff, it is felt, yes, the impact of the lack of tips, which in these types of restaurants are strong and add up.

The company began the management of available aid: loans at 24 percent for wages and the productive recovery program (Repro). And along with wages, it prioritizes payment to suppliers, which are small and do not have a back. The rest of the expenses will be taken care of when possible.

And the future?

Rodríguez analyzes: “When we return to ‘normality’, I think that people will be more selective and will choose places that have a soul and that transmit something beyond food and service. Places with a clear concept and message. I think that those companies are the ones that are going to survive. ”