Taste of Rondo | Small Business Revolution: S6E4

Taste of Rondo | Small Business Revolution: S6E4

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Salesforce is committed to helping small businesses tackle big challenges. We're proud to join Deluxe and the Small Business Revolution as they help Black businesses in Minneapolis and St. Paul grow their businesses in a world filled with change. To learn more, visit salesforce.com/smallbusiness.

So Rondo is an extremely important neighborhood in St. Paul and they're trying to really bring that history to life through their food. I mean, food is the celebrity and the culture of the city. So, I'm excited. Hi, welcome to Taste of Rondo. Charles and Kassra.

Hi, nice to meet you. Such a pleasure. Welcome to the Taste of Rondo. Let's go on in.

Yeah, let's get it. You guys, this place looks amazing. You did such a great job with the build-out.

Thank you. Well, thank you. It was a lot of heart, a lot of sweat, a lot of love. I love it.

So what are we doing? Are we eating? Can we eat first? I'm starving. Sure. We're going to eat. We're going to have a special meal today, but I want you to cook it. So what you want to do first, put some butter there, just rub it around.

Listen to that. Like that, perfect. Okay. So just take your, pick your fish up, flip it over, yep just like that.

That butter poppin. Now you want to just ease it in there and put it on top. What is that called, Amanda? I don't know, what's the term? It's called a "Ay-ay-ay!" All right, honey, this is going to be your flipping challenge.

So, what the flip, in three, two, one. Whoop, whoop, whoop. Ohhhh. She took his skin off.

Good job for you, you still have some skin on it. Great job, Baron. Thank you.

Can I just help you with your website instead? (kitchen bell dings) Blackened catfish. Small businesses across the country are fighting for their survival, with the odds stacked against them. But what happens if we join that fight? If we put a little money, a lot of experience and thousands of hours of work into the entrepreneurs who are striving every day to see their businesses and their communities thrive.

For years, the team traveled from one small town to the next, putting a main street makeover into action and building a movement that is millions strong. But 2020 changed everything. And no one was hit harder than Black-owned businesses in Minneapolis and St. Paul. It was time for the Small Business Revolution to come home.

Now, Amanda Brinkman and her team of marketing experts at Deluxe are rolling up their sleeves, doing what they do for millions of small businesses every day. And they're not alone. NBA All-Star turned entrepreneur Baron Davis will help chart a course for success, while a whole cast of experts and partners line up behind some of the Twin City's most important Black-owned businesses. Every episode, we'll be working with a new small business to see if we can change the odds.

If, in a moment, unlike anything this country has ever seen, we can keep the revolution alive. Yo, this is Tim Wilson coming to you from Urban Lights Music in the Midway. And this goes out to Rondo.

(DJ turntable scratch) Praise the hands, coppered in leaping oil. And praise the sweet air slurring the scent of 94, Its exhaust disarmed at the door. And praise whichever meal meets your lips. Each recipe rescued beneath rubble and rust, come in.

The chef's hands are blessed. Ancestors help him stir. The preparation is generous, generational.

The restaurant is evidence. The Taste of Rondo is layered with kinship, reclamation endurance. It started when I was 13, you know, back then in school you was home by 2:30 or 3:00. So I go in the house. I go like, mom, I'm hungry. She looked at me and she said, you know, you hungry, you're gonna cook.

Say, sure, mom, I cook. And I created my own little spices and I put everything together. And so I lay it down from there, all the way up until now. I love to cook.

I've been working at the same job going on 21 years. So I have two cemeteries that I manage, but I have a passion for cooking. Well, the restaurant, it's just so important that we serve as an example for our kids. But, when you're passionate about something, there's sleepless nights and guess who has to banter before bedtime and both do all of the thought-provoking conversations? This girl, right here, so. Right. I used to wake up in the middle of the night and say,

well, I have a name, okay. Oh, okay. Go back to sleep. Wake up again, I have a vision. The city was wanting to bulldoze this property.

And I say, no, you're not going to bulldoze this. This is one of the last buildings standing in Rondo with history. My home was across the street from the Taste of Rondo, which started out as Schaefer's Grocery Store. And then for that to become the American Legion Home was a big addition to the community. So when that was gone, the place was just empty.

It was just another eyesore. This building meant so much to me. So I say, we're going to fix this. That's when the work started.

We spent all this money, all this hard work, building this place out. Well then the pandemic came. It was time to either make moves or die trying.

And we definitely were like, no, let's just do it. When the restaurant came, I was like, I got to try it. I've lived in Rondo my entire life. So I got to give it a shot. And I come here every day. I tried everything cause I've been here a lot, but the wings on my favorite.

The peach cobbler, the desserts, I mean, this is our food. What we grew up on. I want this place to be a staple in the neighborhood. I want, my daughter, who is only nine years old to have her 18th birthday dinner here. People feel good when they come in here because they see the Rondo that we grew up with.

It's bringing back what we used to have. In Rondo, the history lives and breathes. So many big things have come out of this neighborhood and walking with community elder, Marvin Anderson, we started to see what makes Rondo, so dope. The Mann Theatres, you know, Ted Mann, you ever hear of those? His first theater is up the street there, called The Oxford.

And we used to go there and we would come up here and ride the streetcar all the way downtown. It was a village, basically. There were doctors and lawyers, the co-creator of the NAACP was from Rondo community, Frederick McGee, an attorney.

And then you have the Penumbra Theatre, one of the foremost dramatic ensembles in the whole United States. It was a very self-contained neighborhood. We didn't have television then. So, we played outside from sun up to sun down.

We had barbershops here. We had grocery stores here and there was a sense of pride. There's folks that have no idea. When they drive through this area of the town, that they are driving through a once predominant black community, that was self-sufficient and thriving.

They have no idea. - [Marvin] That's my bedroom right there, where that freeway is going. Wow. So we lived here from 1947 until the freeway came and took our home in 1968.

From 1955 to 1970, 1200 neighborhoods or communities, about a million people, primarily African-American and poor communities across the United States were affected by freeway construction. In Rondo's case, they created the illusion that Rondo was a slum, that it actually was better for the people of Rondo that that freeway be built. That, in the long run that people of Rondo would appreciate this magnificent act of government. We lost almost a thousand homes and well over 200 little small businesses. All that little entrepreneurial instinct that people had in Rondo was destroyed. It separated the Rondo neighborhood.

Basically split us in half and destroyed it. Often we hear people say like, maybe folks didn't sit in a room and create and plan. And yet we know that, nationally, highways were installed, our infrastructure was installed to go right through Black communities.

- I mean, from Oklahoma, from Indiana, from Louisiana, I-55, I-74, I-285. It took us apart. - [Tawanna] It's important to do the work of understanding the historic wealth extraction that has taken place in Black communities. And to understand where economics would be in this community had that not occurred. We are still paying the price for that today.

And therefore we've got to invest in order to get different dividends in the future. You know, this is our story in America. Growing up in LA, they did the same thing to us. They built the 105. Then you had, you know, Compton disrupted, Watts disrupted. But resilience is also being able to reinvent yourself.

That's right. And the African-American community is not going to be destroyed by a freeway. Yeah, really it's about supplying resources back into the community. - [Amanda] Oh, absolutely. - [Kasara] These are the seeds of the new hopeful Rondo.

You just know that we've come this far. We're not going to stop. We're going to continue to grow. We're going to continue to grow.

And my prayer for me is from my daughters in 35 years to have the restaurant. Pass it on. Yeah. That's kind of what keeps us going. My husband and I are so passionate about this business and we refuse to see it fail.

But, maintaining both full-time jobs, the restaurant, our family, that's kind of where we all struggle. Taste of Rondo, have an anniversary coming up in a couple of months and numbers are going up. I can see more people coming in. I know I can triple this income if I can dedicate all my time here. Maybe someday that could happen.

But now, I'm just going to keep working because I prefer to work 60 hours for myself, then to work 40 hours for someone else. In less than a year, during a pandemic, Taste of Rondo has become a staple of the neighborhood. This place has to succeed. So we're bringing in one of Minnesota's most successful restauranteurs, JJ Haywood of Pizza Luce, to help get Charles and Kasara's dream running like a well-oiled machine.

And our partners at Salesforce hooked us up with one of their most tech-savvy customers, Justice Sikakane, to join us on the tour and to make sure Taste of Rondo is giving its diners a 21st century restaurant experience. Hi Charles and Kassara. Hi, good morning. I've got Justice and JJ here.

Let's show them around. Well, here you have your dine-in area. And we do change the configuration around every once in a while to accommodate bands and groups. So we get creative as we need to. vWhen you do have live music, where is that set up? Right here on the feature wall.

Then over here, you have the bar area. This is our open kitchen concept. You can catch Charles sweating and cooking back here, a lot of the time, this is exactly where the magic happens. - Back here, is where I do full kit prep. Nice wooden table for my homemade pie breads. Go take a look at the patio.

This place fills up so quickly, you know, folks really want to get outside. Yeah. I mean, I think we should expand the patio. I mean, this is beautiful out here. Great to be on the corner and have big open views. Especially in the city, you don't see really much of anything this large.

Right, right. You've done such a great job inside, that I feel like this is a great place to use the renovation budget. So Charles, we've talked a little bit about entertainment and we've kind of walked through the restaurant.

What are some of your desires from a technology perspective? How is it serving or not serving you today? - You know, overall. So someone comes to a restaurant here, they're going to spend 45 minutes waiting before they have a meal. Right. And my way of changing that would be, upgrading the tech. Yeah, just streamlining and integrating, I think would be ideal.

- [Amanda] Not only lead to efficiency for your servers and then the kitchen and the staff, but it would also start to provide you with the customer data you need to start making decisions about the business. Absolutely. And one of the things you really just walked us through Charles, without maybe even realizing it is what we referred to in the industry as a CRM strategy, customer relationship management, right? So we can take a look at that and understand what are all the key components that can help create that streamline experience.

Right. Having gotten a feel for the Taste of Rondo Justice is heading back to work with the Salesforce team on a slate of ideas, as JJ and I are sitting down with Charles and Kassara for a look at the business side of things. We opened this up in the middle of a pandemic. We don't know what normal is. The normal is, normal life for a restaurant. We're learning that now.

- [Amanda] Right. Once we start getting some of these marketing things in place, and once it gets nicer out and people start coming out and dining in more, we're going to be opening up the flood gates of it. Yeah. Yeah. So where do you start to get worried about the capacity to scale the process? First, number one, the orders are taken too long. Okay. Typically, if you're open for lunch in a normal year, folks have about 45 minutes to dine and dash and get back to work.

Can we execute a successful lunch in an hour? - The staff, I have to work with them a little more at training, to get them where I really want them to be. And this, you know, you have to realize that the food that we're cooking here, we're cooking Southern fried chicken. To cook it from scratch, to put the flour on there, drop it in the grease, that's 15 or 16 minutes just for that chicken breast and that wing to cook. And it has to be a waiting process for that. So I think you hit the nail on the head that you need the hospitality on the front to match what the kitchen is doing. And so you do need to push appetizers.

You need to push drinks, so people have something to do. - Right. - While they're waiting for their orders. - And too, you know, I think we could do a better job of like telling the Rondo story. I mean, if there was something like a talking point on the table or something. This is a great part of the discussion to actually kind of talk about the current menus, because I definitely think print materials on the table are a huge opportunity for us to be telling that story and also helping us kind of just shift the mindset around the wait time. Right, now it's seen as a bad thing.

It's actually a good thing, it's because everything is being made from scratch. And then everything's kind of getting equal billing, you know, something like your catfish deserves its own call out. But I think if something's going to take a little bit longer we can just make a little fun note that says, it's worth the wait. - And having a floor manager and really getting the service folks trained will help the flow. - [Amanda] Is there an overall ambition for you to both leave your current full-time jobs? Yes. Someday I would love to be just having one job and that's here.

- [Amanda] So there's our mission in working alongside you, because I think there's nothing more beautiful than that. I mean, the amount of things that you guys are getting right for having never kind of owned and operated a restaurant at this capacity is remarkable. We're hitting on all the cylinders. It's just a little bit of refinement on each of them.

And this place is just going to sing. - This is surreal. Sometimes when you question whether or not you're doing the right thing or doing a good job, or is this even something that we should be doing, and then you're told that you're actually killing it, is like, amazing. - You know, with this pandemic, of course it puts a lot of tense, a lot of stress, but you have to just take a deep breath and relax and let everything fall in place. Don't let his calm demeanor fool you, Charles and Kassara have put in the work to make things at the restaurant fall into place. So as we dive into everything from layout and operations to branding and technology, we're putting in the work to ensure those elements are all growing in the same direction.

When I think about Taste of Rondo, you know, from a renovation perspective, they've just built out that space and it's gorgeous. And I think we can help them extend the seating by building out that patio. But really, I think the focus is kind of more in the operational space.

One of the most challenging things I think for a restaurant is to get the food timing correct. And then you gotta, you know, get the drinks right there and try and get appetizers that are less stress on the kitchen to the table. So they don't feel like they're waiting.

One of Charles' ambitions is to add lunch and breakfast service. However, it makes me just a little bit nervous if we're having operational kind of flow issues. Their best bang for the buck is going to be focusing on dinner and weekends. - Honing in on, hey, this is what we do. This is who we are and then move up. Right.

But if you don't get this right then, like, your psyche, right, starts to get watered down. - Try and do everything and then have to retract, is, feels terrible. So I think between just extending the patio, making the kitchen more efficient and really, you know, bringing their story to life through their branding and marketing, I think it'll make a huge difference in the success of the restaurant. Taste of Rondo is sacred ground. I think right now, they're doing themselves a disservice with how they're showing up online. There's things that we can do on their website to give people the information that they're looking for.

- We have a place for their story. We have a place for more information about Rondo. - [Amanda] The team at Deluxe brings a range of expertise to every rebrand redo. but our client is expert in their business and customers.

So a truly successful site is always a collaborative effort. So one of the first parts of the process is always to go through a mood board so that we all make sure we're working off of the same kind of source of truth. That's cool. Once we've gotten the style locked in, our team goes to work, designing multiple options for a new logo. We always like to take each of these logos and kind of put them into the places they'll be.

What would that look like on the side of the building? And what would that look like on a mug? The logo is one of the most personal, and most subjective choices a small business owner makes. Sometimes entrepreneurs spend weeks going back and forth between creating designs and other times they just see it and know. Now we talkin, there we go. So, you know, I'm looking at the catfish on there. I love that.

- [Amanda] This is our favorite one too, because this really gives and brings out the character of Taste of Rondo. It gives us a little bit of ownership too. It's not just a chef hat where everyone can use it.

If you have a brand ambassador like a catfish, you know we're going to have some of that. Now I'm thinking of a catfish soul bowl. Oh, I like it. I like it.

I'm thinking of a catfish hamburger. Oh I don't know about that one. Catfish ice cream? Ah... With the logo in place, we start thinking swag. We can brand just about anything, but the more specific the item is to that particular business, the better it works as both a revenue generator and a marketing opportunity. For the patio area, this is a really nice plastic hurricane glass.

So it can come free with your drink or take it home with you. And with the Deluxe team, head down on the marketing makeover, our partners at Lenovo are stepping in to see what Taste of Rondo currently has going on, in terms of technology infrastructure. When it prints a ticket out, you can't really read it that clear. If we had tablets where, you can just order straight from the table, we can cut back about 15, 20 minutes of wait time.

Having the latest greatest devices, will up the experience for customers inside Taste of Rondo. But with the right software and strategy, those same tools can improve the customer experience, even when they're not at the restaurant. If you have a database of customers, you can go in and just basically prioritize and say, I want to send an email automatically to the individual that's been to our restaurant twice in one month that they get a free drink.

So that the next time they come in, right, you know, it'll show, hey, the last time you were here, you got, you know, Charles' catfish, right? Favorites. All the sudden you have a Favorites. Like, what? - You know, those two individuals, they're just, they're good hearted, hardworking. You know, they have full-time jobs.

They work at Taste of Rondo. So just talking through, you know, how technology could serve, just kind of that future vision was a great experience. With the Small Business Revolution everything's always happening at once. So between rebrand, tech and strategy means, we're pouring concrete. - [Baron] That building has so much historical relevance, you know, for Rondo, you can see a lot of hard work.

A lot of love, a lot of care, right, has been put into it, but it's just, they lack resources. Even the patio. If you upgrade this, this could be, you know, like a spot. - [Amanda] By focusing Deluxe's renovation dollars almost entirely on the patio, we're going to be able to pull off a total overhaul and add a lot of seating. But those seats aren't going to fill themselves.

- Your setting is wonderful. So how do we translate the feeling of walking inside your door versus coming and seeing your website? Pictures is one way. Immediately, someone gets to come here and they get to feel how it feels to be inside a restaurant. So this is something that we absolutely want to leverage.

- [Doug] And, I remember the first time we talked, you kind of keep your cards close to the vest. We started talking about food. You got so excited, you lit up. I want to show that excitement in a Facebook post. Excited.

- [Julie] So we've been talking about a lot of things here in terms of marketing and operations. And you trying to find the time, have you made a decision in terms of your other full-time job? For Taste of Rondo to be successful I have to dedicate all my time. So. - Well, congratulations. - I left my full-time job. It was time to move on and I mean, it's a big step.

It feels good. It feels good to work for myself. Most businesses start out as a side hustle and figuring out when to take the full-time plunge is one of the scariest decisions a founder ever has to make. It's a necessary gamble, but you can at least get a good idea of the odds.

And that's about knowing your numbers. So Charles, Kasara and I are meeting up with Nadine Sievert from our partners at US Bank, to make sure we have a clear picture of what's ahead. - You know, when we first started this thing, we had a financial plan three year, first, second, third year, and what that might look like. That first year does not look like that first year. And so we're just a little bit nervous.

- [Nadine] As you're looking at your menu, how much has like food-cost come into play? Food-cost is 35%. Let's go to the catfish. That's most of our propular sales right there. it's costing me about $3.25 to make that one catfish. So I sell that catfish fish for $14.

That's 75% turnaround profit. And it's more than just the cost of the catfish though, right? Like also that means you have to staff that shift. You're going to have to be doing that shift. - So, with me putting my all in here.

That's more revenue on the table. Just to hire a chef to come in there, you're looking at $75,000 a year there. To manager the place, you're looking at another 45, $50,000 a year.

And so if you combine those two jobs together, that's what I do. You're right in saying, you know, the cost of the positions that you're covering and what that looks like. But also Charles, you left your full-time job now to work here full time.

What does the business generate in order to offset that lost salary that you had with the full-time job? - Numbers to me, it's not there, but you should make a minimum of 50,000. If you making under $50,000, you need to go and figure out what's the problem. - [Kasara] But at some point in time, like we're going to need to bring someone in so that you can have some relief. And I don't want to just make the minimum at this point in time like, I'm trying to retire too. So like, what are we talking about here? Like, let's try to figure out how much we need to make my salary plus extra couple of dollars.

You know what I mean? - My recommendation is that we start with a projection and back into it as to how we want to achieve that number. Which means we may have to break down with the expenses, how much we need to make per hour, right? In order to hit that number. And once the volume increases or things get back to new normal we can see how that compares to the goals that we've set. - I think the level of granularity that we're talking about, will just give you that visibility into knowing as the volume increases, what does that mean for your labor costs? What does that mean for what you can take home? Because when it is the source of income for supporting your family, it just raises the stakes, right? It just, it has to work. And so it'll just allow you to really have the bigger picture of the business. Hiring more people, will definitely make Charles and Kassara's lives easier, but there's lower hanging fruit we can grab first.

Helping the restaurant run more efficiently. So Charles and Kassara are visiting a model of efficiency, one of the twin state's nine Pizza Luce restaurants to see if they can pick up a few tricks of the trade. We have server stations in each one of our dining areas. So when a server takes an order at a table, they immediately go to the station and punch it in.

So then the bar tickets go to the bar, the kitchen tickets go to the kitchen. How do you determine how many staff you bring on? There's a lot of variance there. On a Monday lunch, we run with three people up front and on Friday night, when we're fully operational, we're in the neighborhood of 15.

- So at lunch, the bartender is the main server. Let's go to the kitchen and checkout where those orders go. - [Luce Manager] As opposed to having tickets handwritten or printed, tickets come up on a buff screen. So the oldest ticket is number one, next ticket is number two and so forth. And there's different colors for delivery and dine-in as well. This is what I want in the kitchen.

Yeah, yeah. I know with that being implemented, that will just streamline a lot of the hiccup areas or the dead ends that we're running into. And then also I think, delegation is a lot of what I'm taking away from this experience. Being able to delegate some of the things that he can do, but he knows someone else can do a little more efficiently. But then too, you know, Charles just has to cook faster. - [Charles] Just like they say, you know, in my state, from where I from, as a Southern man, good things come to those who wait.

Pizza Luce's system is on point, but it does require a fair amount of technology. So we're heading over to one of Rondo's most respected landmarks, the historic Penumbra Theater, to get a look at the package Lenovo has designed for Charles and Kasara. All right, I know you guys have been working with D from Lenovo on your technology needs, so I'm so excited for you to finally meet him in person and see what he has planned.

Hey, Amanda. Hey, good to see you in person. - Charles - Great to meet you. What a pleasure.

All right. So let's take a look. So we want to outfit the kitchen with two of our P-27 visual displays. We're going to back that up with our ThinkCenter Tiny. This will help you while your orders are being taken, and then you can see it come up onto the screen and then they can get to work.

That's going to be a big game-changer. To see Charles and Kassara say, look, we're going to start rebuilding Rondo, and we're going to name it, Taste of Rondo. This is going to be the rebirth of this community. It's inspiring. You know, I'm honored to be a part of the experience and part of the growth. Now, Charles, there's a tablet just right over there.

Can you grab that for me real quick? Sure. Your host can go ahead and plan seating with the integrated software. And at the same time, the waiters can take the orders and send it right to the kitchen. So we can ditch the pen and paper? A hundred percent.

This is so cool. Back at the restaurant, another Twin City small business is stepping up to help. Mercedes Austin, CEO of Mercury Mosaics, came into tile Taste of Rondo's soon to be packed waiting area for free. Small business owners show up for their community. We see it over and over. It's why Charles and Kasara started Taste of Rondo.

And we want to help them do just that. So Deluxe wants to give you guys $5,000 to pay it forward to another small business or a community organization that you feel is deserving, that you really admire and just pay it forward to them. That is so cool. Do you have someone in mind? Yes, I do.

2 Scoops. They're really great for the community. They're over on Selby avenue. You know for me, to come in here and say $5,000, you really are going to make this guy's day.

- [Kasara] Maybe they can make an ice cream after us? I will request a Taste of Rondo ice cream. I like it, that's good. Always thinking like a business man. Yes, let's go. - [Marvin] And it's so important because those small businesses really connect with the community because they know who's in the community, but people can come in and first thing they say is, how's your mom, how's your dad? And that what makes the community strong. That interdependence, that knowledge where you just not a customer, but, you're - You're a family.

You're a family. Deluxe came in and kind of buttoned them up, right? This is like getting you ready for prom. Going all out, you know, looking good.

And so, you know, they're going to be using the Lenovos. Right? You know the patio's going to be poppin now. And I think that's in big part to like, Deluxe being able to listen to them.

After months of intense collaboration, Baron, JJ and I, can't wait to get back to the restaurant for a first look at Taste of Rondo 2.0. This is incredible. Oh, nice to see you. They did a really amazing job.

So we started out with this gorgeous patio, slanted just right where the water can run off. And then we put it in a nice, beautiful wood and finish it off with some few moonlights inside. I must have got like 20 phone calls. Can I book the patio? I want to come out for their patio on my birthday. I want to have my wedding.

I want to have tons and tons of parties. I mean, things are really looking up around here, you know. How did the upgrades go to the inside with the point-of-sale and the waiting? It's super smooth. It's really great to see the transition.

We're not losing tickets. Everything's displayed beautifully. We should go take a peek.

So when you come into the front door now, and I can just look up your name and find out your seat here get you to your location. That's awesome. That is great.

And then if there is a wait, we have this new, lovely decorated area here, it definitely is way different, like the wallpaper is, beautiful, additional seats, peppered with what we already had, it just blends very well. We were gifted these wonderful Lenovo monitors. Now, instead of me saying, hey, it's been 20 minutes on table two. The monitor tells you how long you've been waiting.

If you ask me ,being a chef here cooking, it done speed things up about 15 minutes per order. And with this additional number of seats speeding up that process is just money. Now it's time to keep bringing people in, so are you excited to see your new website? Oh my goodness. I'm beyond ready.

So let's not wait. Close your eyes. I'll tell you when to open them. All right. You can open them.

What? That is so cool. Don't you want to go there? This is huge. I just don't see me in there.

I see Kassara. That's too bad. You're in the kitchen, man, you're in the kitchen. I'll show you where you show up, don't worry. Look at this, Charles, look at this, the newest restauranteur power couple, you like that? Just reading that.

Thought you would. Southern gentleman. An effective website is half art, half science. So mixed in with all the photography and storytelling is a whole other language designed specifically for search engines. Making sure Taste of Rondo's site shows up when people are looking for what the restaurant does best.

So even if people were searching for something like catfish, which is all over your menu, they would not find it because it's locked within a PDF. So we wanted to take all of your menu out of that PDF, unlock it for both the search engines, as well as making sure that it was responsively designed, meaning that people when they're on their mobile device can navigate the menu fluidly. I think this menu is fantastic. The food photography is really great and those drive the guest to pick your best sellers.

And when you make them happy with the things you do the best you're going to have more and more repeat visits. Also, people love reviews. They love seeing great reviews. So Deluxe has a product called Reviews Promoter that aggregates those reviews. So you have a one stop shop for reviewing all of them. And we did have an opportunity to optimize your Google listing to make sure people were finding you.

So, we felt like soul food was really an important qualifier to add in there because there is incredible search volume against that term. And since we changed that qualifier, the visits to your Google listing have gone up 70%, 828 searches. Yeah, we need all those searches.

It's so much to take in. This just changes how we spend our time. At a place like Taste of Rondo where events, holidays, and specials are built into the business model, staying on top of the schedule can be as daunting as it is important.

So to help Charles and Kasara with everything from website updates to social posts, we built out a content calendar for the year to come. A lot of times when you're an entrepreneur and your head is down and you look up and you're like, oh, Valentine's day is next week. What are we doing, right? By just mastering the calendar, you will know in January to start prepping. I need this calendar.

I have events all the time. It's going to be fantastic for the business. And then of course, we really want to celebrate the legacy. We want to talk about the history here. Interstate 94 is a few steps out the front door, as a reminder, in case anyone could ever forget.

Here, you'll smell the delightful sense of old family recipes, wafting through the air again. Most of all, at Taste of Rondo, you'll see a community drawn together to share smiles. You're kind of leading with the product and the story. Different people are going to find different touch points in that story.

And it's going to lead them to this destination. So that's why I love this website. You know, I go all the way back to the first thought in my mind, eight years ago, and this was my vision.

And you know, with the community and now people in Rondo will never be forgotten. It's amazing. There's just that missing part we need to bring other success aside to Taste of Rondo. A menu for you, sir.

Wow! A menu for you, ma'am. These are your dinner menus. Wow. Nice, nice.

And I like how we have like a feature box around the Cajun Catfish. That's like our best seller. It's really the same menu items.

But because now they have names and a really great backdrop, it's just an entirely different experience and story. Right. All right. So let's show some promo and apparel.

Working with the Deluxe team, they bring you joy. They bring you energy. I went from sort of depressed of being into the pandemic, and just came out of it over in a matter of 15 seconds. By just looking at them like, wow.

It's going to be a change. I have to put this on. So cool. Oh, don't you look fancy. When people come here now that you don't want to leave and they just want to go, like, I just love this place.

And it's not because their food took forever, it's because they want to be there. So we've also branded the pint glasses. Oh, cheers. Branding items is such a great opportunity to make sure that your brand is out there working for you.

But also, it can be a revenue opportunity. These are items that you could actually sell as well. And last of all, we liked Taste of Rondo's new logo so much, and they already had a flag pole, so. Boom! Oh, wow. That is great. - Until we get it hung up, Baron will just stand there.

He'll be like, you know those guys, the things that go like this. All the things tie together. I mean, this is beautiful. You just took the dream and the vision and just turned it into like, just tons of reality now.

So it's here. Thank you. Taste of Rondo is here. We here to stay. All right, now the only thing left to do, is go pay it forward. Yes, let's go get some ice cream.

Hi. How are you guys doing today? Good. We got something for you.

We have an opportunity to highlight another business that is important to us. So Small Business Revolution gave us a check, $5,000. Oh my goodness.

Are you serious? Aw thank you, man. Oh man, I'm lost for words. I just want a strawberry ice cream. Yeah.

You want a double scoop? When people say you grew up in a village, it meant something to us to say that about Rondo. People knew you, people looked out for you and people cared about you. And that's what we had in Rondo.

So Charles and Kasara took a chance and they said, we're going to build this and we're going to call it the Taste of Rondo, because they recognize the heritage there. So I feel that was a very positive act. A very powerful act. Stay tuned for scenes from our next episode.

Deluxe is passionate about supporting small businesses and we are honored to bring the Small Business Revolution home to Minnesota. For over 100 years, we've gotten to play a small part in the stories of entrepreneurs across the country and everything our team does on this show, we do with thousands of businesses every day, from brand building and payments, to payroll and data solutions, we have the tools to help businesses big and small be at their best. Because at Deluxe we believe when you champion businesses, entire communities thrive. To find out how we can help your small business, go to deluxe.com.

At US Bank, we believe small businesses are central to the culture, flavor, and personality of our cities and towns. They create jobs, foster economic growth and are critical to our community's success. Our passion for the small business community is why US Bank is excited to partner with Deluxe on the hit series, Small Business Revolution. Elsa's House of Sleep is a family-owned furniture store in the heart of the Midway. This sustains all the families that are here.

With service, affordability and friendliness passed down from mother to son. It's something that we've been known for for 25 years. We need to make sure that the story is coming through of how much the store has meant to that neighborhood. Can the Deluxe Small Business Revolution team help Elsa's preserve that legacy, while keeping up with a changing neighborhood and industry? That is so nice. Thank you. On the next episode of Small Business Revolution.

2021-11-12 08:15

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