Ever heard of a takeaway shop based in a nightclub? Well, now you have. Samuels, one of the busiest takeaway shops in Lough, providing the town with fresh, good-quality pizza, burgers and kebabs. When we were given the opportunity to chat with Neil Cole, owner of Samuels, we wanted to find out what the pros and cons were of having a personalised App verses an aggregator App like Just Eat.
Could you give us a bit of background to Samuels?
Yes, of course, we are based in Lough, Lincolnshire, a little market town with about 16-17 thousand people. I took over the place in February 2014. Back then it was a takeaway not a delivery service, now we just do deliveries. It was originally a takeaway restaurant inside the nightclub.
Wait What?! Inside a nightclub?
Yeah! It was a takeaway in a nightclub, which had been open for years but it only ever ran as a takeaway when the nightclub was open, which was only two nights a week.
Since I took over we decided to keep it open seven nights a week offering only a delivery service. We don’t have a store front, or any collections, or have any customers walking in. All our orders are done either on the phone, online or on our App.
Do you use any other ordering delivery services?
Yes, we use Just Eat as well as our App.
Which one gets the most orders?
A couple of months ago we had a month where all our orders came from online, I think we had one or two by phone. It was the first time this has happened and it recently just happened again in June.
On average we have 75% of our orders coming from online, and then to break that down we have about 50% coming through Just Eat and then 25% to 30% through our App or Web App.
How do you find using Just Eat?
I don’t like using them. I really don’t like the company. It is the worst customer service I have ever experienced. And they take a huge commission, but they do spend a lot on marketing.
I would love to say that one day we can stop using Just Eat, but for now the reality is everyone is using it as the marketing is something they are really good at.
Do you use any other aggregator Apps?
No, we only use Just Eat.
And what about social, do you use that to market yourself?
We do, we have about 2.5k followers on Facebook, which isn’t bad for a town this size. We push the business a lot on that. We use it for promotions or special ‘off the menu’ items, which we put on the App as well.
Do you use push notifications on the App?
We do yes.
What kind of promotions do you offer?
Well because we are based in a nightclub we are licensed to sell and deliver beer, wine and cider, which we promoted during the recent football. Every time England played, whatever night it was, we offered our beer at half price for the whole night. Which basically meant we were selling it at less than cost price.
We sent that promotion out on the App as well as on Facebook. Which, strangely people didn’t use instead they were still ordering beer full price on Just Eat!
We also did a promotion for Pot Noodle Pizza, which is basically a pot noodle on a pizza, we sent that out on the App and people went crazy for it!
How long have you had an App with App4?
Just over a year, we went live in March 2015.
Have you noticed a difference in your sales?
For the moment we are just trying to push the App as much as we can. We send out flyers with every order promoting the App offering a 10% discount code. This gives the customer 10% off but in the end we are saving money as the discount is less than the Just Eat commission! Not to mention it is a constant marketing campaign to raise awareness.
We are aiming to get 50% of our customers through the App and 50% through Just Eat.
Is that one of your challenges – raising awareness?
Yes, definitely. To educate people to use the App and get more people using it. My aim is to get all our sales through the App, we will keep pushing to get 50/50. It is achievable.
What are the main differences between App4 and Just Eat?
The major difference is you pay Just Eat a commission and they do all their marketing to get people using them. With your own App, you save on commission but you do have to do your own marketing, which isn’t a great expense.
One thing we introduced which really works is having a ‘Shop Now’ button on Facebook and then promoting it. When people click on the Facebook ‘Shop’ button it takes them straight through to our web App. You can see the figures going up when you spend a bit to promote that button.
What are the best features of App4?
The main benefit is that there is no commission. Secondly, I love the flexibility. You can add and change menu items as often as you like, it’s not difficult.
So the back end is pretty easy to use?
Yes, really simple. Although, I did mess something up the other day when I tried to change the opening times. But I just gave them a ring and they helped me sort it out straight away.
How are the App4 team?
If I ever have any problems or ideas, I will let them know and they are always around to help. They helped me quite a bit with the marketing as well.
Would you recommend App4 to other business owners?
We found App4 at the 2014 takeaway expo in London. There were a lot of people selling Apps for takeaways. We looked at quite a few and actually signed up with another company who were one of the cheapest there. It didn’t work out with them as it was more of a ‘do it yourself’ job. We kind of got what we were paying for. So in the end we signed up with App4, who we always liked and realized they were worth the extra cost. It is worth paying a little bit more for a better product and service.
Download the Samuels App!