Today’s Guest(s)!

Alex Pincus
Crew NY

Episode Summary

As we return from a two week summer break, this awesome episode will seriously whet your appetite (not kidding!) as we’re joined by Alex Pincus, one of the founders of the amazing Crew NY restaurant group. In this awesome and inspiring episode Alex takes Jordan and Andrew through their initial review of Podio and how they got started, and then the group turns the focus on some of the amazing ways their Podio system has seriously helped them scale their business.

This is a great and insightful episode for a number of reasons, not least of which it shows how an incredibly fast-paced and overhead conscious business like a restaurant can use Podio to really track so much of the business and supercharge the efficiency of it all. We look at how fully integrated communications (phone, text and email) has helped them elevate their customer service, and we dive into how they use Podio as a Content Management System (CMS) for their restaurant websites, allowing them to keep up-to-the-minute menus and quickly make adjustments to menus, ingredients, staff tasks….you name it!

This is another great episode to watch on YouTube as you can see the fruits of the labour and how it spins out from Podio to the customers plate!

Food for thought?

(if you’re in the NY area, we HIGHLY recommend a visit. We will be flying in as soon as we can)

Show Links

Check out the Crew NY Main Website: https://crewny.com/ 

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Audio Transcription

Narrator  0:00  

Welcome to powered by Podio automation is everything. supercharge your business with Podio. Get ready for another episode of Supercharged! with Jordan Samuel Fleming your weekly dive into the awesome impact workflow and automation you can have on your business when it’s powered by Podio. Join us each week as we learn from the top Podio partners in the world as we investigate system integrations and add ons and hear from real business owners who have implemented Podio into their business. Now, join your host Jordan Samuel Fleming, CEO of Gamechangers for this week’s episode.

Jordan Fleming  0:45  

Hello, and welcome to this week’s episode of supercharge. I’m your host Jordan Samuel Fleming, here to talk all about the power of workflow and automation when your business is powered by Podio. Now, in today’s episode, I’m joined by two people. First of all, I’m joined by my colleague, Andrew Cranston, who is the CTO of Gamechangers and is joined us because he really does spearhead most of the design and manage the technical aspects of our systems. And our other guests. Our featured guests is Alex Pincus from CrewNY. Now, this is a really different episode than a lot of the ones we do, because a lot of businesses we have on who use Podio. I be honest, they tend to focus heavily on the b2b services on the field operations and of course, on real estate and property management. And that’s great. It’s a huge use case for Podio. Today’s a little different because CrewNY, their main focus, and certainly the main focus for the system that we our game changes has been involved with these around restaurants, they own and operate a number of seasonal restaurants in New York, and I found out New Orleans. And it’s a really interesting use case because of course, there is established software for restaurants IE POS systems that run restaurants and booking systems, but they were looking for something deeper. And this is a really fun episode because it shows you kind of even more what Podio is capable of. And the system that we are going to look at today with Alex really brings a lot of the different areas of the restaurant business and their restaurant organisation. together in a way, they’ve never been able to do that icluding communication, automatic communication, linking in smartphone and emails and externalising things like a menu system for into a screen into a to be visible by the phone, which is very much linked to a back end, which understands, you know, ingredients and what’s on each different location. The ability to quickly remove something from one location and, and have the menu instantaneously change. And it’s showing Podio as a system that really can manage the back end of all these different parts of the restaurant group that they own. But also, we have now started to branch out to public facing things which were Podio is pushing the data, their menus for each different location. And each one looks slightly different different colour schemes, you could have specific menu items on each one. And you can dynamically remove items if they for instance, you run out of you know, oysters or something like that. So it’s a really fun use cases, it’s not one we’ve really done before. So it’s great to hear from Alex, it’s great, you know, to see the the effect that integrating Podio in this way has had on their business, the real massive positive effect it had on their customer experience, their ability interact, and the way they’re continuing to build their system. So, you know, quick reminder, please do take a moment right now stop, pause, rate the podcast, give it a share, give it a like and more importantly, give it a review. It really does boost us up in the rating. So the more and more people find out about the power of Podio. Enough of that pitch for me, please. Let’s join Alex, Andrew and I in the podcast.

So okay, so, Alex, haven’t seen you in a while. First time in the podcast, why don’t you give everyone a little hint about who you are and what you guys do. Cool.

Alex Pincus  4:37  

Happy to be here. I’m Alex Pincus. I’m one of the owners of crew. We have a company primarily in New York that operates kind of a weird business where half restaurants have maritime and sometimes those things overlap with restaurants on boats, our flagship restaurants called grand bags, we open it at seasons ago. So slow over seven years ago, downtown New York City. And it’s been a, you know, pretty successful restaurants kind of become a New York institution. And we’ve got a handful of other restaurants, similar waterfront nature, we have another restaurant on a boat in Brooklyn called pilot. And we have a seafood restaurant in New Orleans in collaboration with Ace Hotel called seaworthy. And then we have two waterfront restaurants in New York that are on land, but right on the water. One of them’s called Island oyster, and the other one is called drift in all of these focus on, they’re all seasonal, they’re all outdoors, they’re really focused on, you know, waterfront, outdoor enjoyment of sustainable seafood, you know, having a nice drink and escaping everyday life. separately from that we also have a boat restoration facility, and a handful of historic ships and we operate a couple marinas. So it’s a very unique undertaking, where every portfolio, yeah, not everything goes together. But you

Andrew Cranston  6:06  

know, just just a couple restaurants, just a couple.

Jordan Fleming  6:11  

I can’t secretly I cannot wait, at some point, I will be in New York again, I live totally outside of New York for a while. And I’ve In fact, smartphones just hired our new our head of marketing is is is funny of a woman I went to high school with, but she, she lives just outside of New York City, as well. So I will definitely on one of my trips back becoming swinging back through New York to see some people see her and all that. And I am definitely coming into the city to go to one of the restaurants because we’ll have a good time. I at this point, I’ve seen so many menus that I’ve been like drooling. Every time I see it. I’m just like, come on, this is killing me. So for Podio there’s a couple things I wanted to go through in this podcast, because I think it’s there’s some really interesting bits that you bring to the table on this podcast that we haven’t had before. Because we’ve had a lot of real estate and let people you know, there’s a Podio sort of fixture in real estate investment and some of these solar panel solar companies. And we’ve talked to a lot of people like that. But I think you’re the first restaurant, certainly, that we’ve discussed. And you use, like as we’ve worked with you over the last little while, I can’t remember how long and seeing how you’ve sort of integrated Podio through your operations, how then your Podio system has developed, I want to touch on a couple of those things. But what first got you into Podio? From a restaurant point of view? Because it doesn’t it’s not necessary? There’s a lot of E POS systems that claimed to run restaurants and is, you know, what was it that brought you to Podio. To begin with.

Alex Pincus  7:49  

It was sort of accidental, we had been looking for, you know, project management, data management software packages for a while we played around with a few of them. We used Asana for one year. And you know, there’s some cool things we liked about it. And we’d actually very early on, used Podio as a kind of project management tool just to keep things organised. But you know, this is probably six or seven years ago. And I think at the time, it just did it, it seemed a little more complicated than what we needed. And we ended up playing around with air table for a long time, which you know, had some benefits in a, you know, less robust kind of way, but it helped us organise things on a certain level. And then I would guess it was probably a couple years ago, now my brother is my partner brought it up, it was looking through all the various packages and trying to figure out what might work well for us. And, you know, had dug a little deeper into Podio and started to put together that it offered a structure that might or a possible structure that might work for us. So we started tinkering with it and got a few things in there. And, you know, sort of quickly realised that there was a lot of potential. And then I believe, you know, not long after that, we also realise we needed a little help. And that’s when we started talking to you guys. And, you know, from that collaboration, we’ve ended up at a pretty amazing point in terms of creating a back end for everything that we do. And, you know, seems to have this exponential world of possibility at this point. As it’s all I would say Finally, all up and running in sync together and you know, happening in real time. For you know, the first time since we’ve been using it, it’s it’s been pretty cool process to envision what we could do and then finally see it come into reality.

Jordan Fleming  9:52  

If you were to think about sort of the you know, maybe two or three critical things that your your you sort of really wanted Podio to do, and maybe the end that we’re now doing. Just because I know that there are so many like, I guess primarily when I think of restaurants, I think of the E POS systems where you’ve got kind of half baked systems to do other bits, it seems to me, whenever I’ve seen the POS systems, restaurants, they’re usually really good at like taking reservations and, and like seeing where your tables are, and doing the doing the core things. But all these little other spokes of the business that you wanted to include, what would be the kind of key things that Podio is running, that you weren’t really able to do conveniently before, if that makes sense.

Alex Pincus  10:45  

I mean, what’s interesting is, at this point, Podio, has taken it to a level that we didn’t know that we didn’t even envision this is a possibility. But you know, we went into it thinking, Okay, it’d be great to organise all the things that we’d buy, to just know what those things are. And categorise those things, it would be great to have all the documents for each individual entity that we operate, live in one place together, and be able to reference those, you know, have multiple digital references, it’d be great for people to be able to communicate with each other and share those things with each other. And, you know, that was it was wasn’t very complicated goal that we had at the beginning. But as we started building systems, you know, we built a system of all the things that we buy. And then we started to realise, oh, we could actually build a system that shows the recipe for something that we make, and then we can reference, all those things that we buy that go in it. And then those things, reference the vendors that we buy them from. But then, you know, through some conversation with you guys, we had this realisation that we could build a, you know, a referenceable menu that our guests see, you know, which is also kind of result of COVID, and people shifting to digital menus. But we now have, you know, a menu that live online, where on the back end, it’s actually referencing the actual recipe for the dish that has all the specs for someone to be able to make, it then also has all the specs for all the people that would buy all the ingredients from. And so we have a full like almost like a full lifecycle of what something that we sell is fully connected, in real time through Podio. So I could go right now and change it and say that we’re out of something. And then everybody does a route of this thing internally, and it actually turns itself off from the menu. Until tomorrow, when it reminds manager that it’s so familiar and either ready to buy something, or we need to figure something out.

Jordan Fleming  12:49  

I didn’t even know I did that I which is sad, because I didn’t get I’m not been obviously I don’t do I’ve not been involved in the build in your system for quite some time. Andrew spearheaded that, and maybe good time for Andrew to, to come into this because that like I remember seeing the menu. And you know, it’s beautiful on the web. It’s like, it looks good. It looks like your menu looks. But that connection, Andrew, how like, Can you give us a little technical bit about how those things work. And maybe we can just have a, you can maybe take a little show, so that anybody watching on YouTube can see what the menu looks like. And you can see the fantastic menu that the restaurants have to offer, and whet your appetite there.

Andrew Cranston  13:34  

Yeah, I have to second Jordan like going through this project and just constantly reading about seafood for a good solid month and just like drooling over the things

Jordan Fleming  13:42  

that lobster more in my life.

Andrew Cranston  13:45  

That’s awesome. So So Jordan makes a very interesting point in that we do a lot of work for property managers, you know, people who are in property wholesaling. But in essence, everything that a good Podio system has is really about objects, you know, so like property wholesalers would have a property object. And then they would have an offer object or a contract object, a contact object, these things that you’re working with. And it contains certain variables within these objects. That particular process while having a lot of automations, and a lot of different things, different directions that can go, the number of objects that they’re dealing with on a daily basis are quite small. But when you think about a restaurant or or an empire of restaurants, the number of objects that you’re dealing with, are very large. So you have a venue. And then you have people who fulfil many different roles on many different teams and being able to control who who’s in charge of what you mentioned about vendors, a dish, and then the ingredients that go in that dish, the venue that sells this dish, what it costs.

Whether or not it’s available on any given day, there’s a lot of objects and your Podio system is actually one of the largest we’ve ever dealt with. But we try to control people that start off on Podio. And they start building 700 apps when three will do. But in reality, your system is a weird, gentle balance between those two things, because you do have a lot of sprawl, but you need it because you have all of these different relationships that you need to track. So your Podio system is rather large, that’s an important thing to know, considering, you know, other people who do Podio. Some other things that you’re doing also in your system are, you do have a reservation system called talk that you do run all your venues through now, we recently built an integration where we’re catching web hooks from talk, specifically to know when the reservation ends. And this is actually pretty cool the way the talk has allowed us to do this, because one of the other big builds that we’ve done recently is your guest services workflow. So you now have a one stop integrated place in Podio, where if somebody is contacting you, for some reason, they submit a webform on your site, the email one of your addresses, all of that information comes into one place. And it’s very, it’s very much just a standard globey Mail integration where your your guest services, people are emailing back and forth and tracking what needs to be done. But because these talk web hooks know, when the reservation ended, when the person left the restaurant, we get a rent, we get a web hook, once your folks sign the person out, they’re gone, their bill is paid, they get an SMS on their phone saying how did we do, they click on it feedback form comes in, and that information comes right into Podio, as well. So that’s another key component of your guest services workflow. So there’s a lot going on. And like I said, in terms of objects, there’s a lot of things that we have to track. This menu project that we did together is actually one of the one of my favourite sort of things that we’ve done. And what in essence it is, is we’re using Podio as a content management system. So we’re using it for your own internal back end processes, like what menu items served are served by which venues and which ingredients go into them. That’s sort of the back end part of it. But for the front end of this, we have options for you to organise these menu items and price points, what am what you’re selling on your menus, and what it costs per venue, we’re controlling price points per venue in the case of your system, and organising them into menus for venues, sub sections. And then also we’ve got a third level of like a section of the menu, so oysters or seafood, and then the sub sections, which allows you to show the actual menu items that are involved. So in addition to that, we also allow you to track the colours, the logos, links to social media outlets, and we have one template on it’s actually run through codeigniter for and it’s installed on a digitalocean droplet. And that template takes all of the information in from Podio. And every single menu you go to tells the user What does the header colour? What’s the body colour, what’s the footer colour, what widgets are in the footer, we also have like a widget setting. What Instagram link does this menu, go to what options are in the menu. And then we’ve got drinks and lunch. So you’re going to see a bunch of different things. I’ll go through the back end first. And then you’ll be able to see sort of how the front end feeds off all this information. So I’m going to share my screen. I’m in their food and beverage workspace where all of this information is contained. So we have the the main apps that we’re working with here are menu items, guests, menus, menu sub sections, and sub menu sections and sub sections, price points, the footer widgets, which are direct relationships to the menus themselves. And yeah, and that’s it. So these apps here. So I’m going to start at the top level. So I realised this was one of the first venues that we’d launched. So I’m going to use it as my guinea pig, which is driftin. So here now we see we’ve got multiple menus for driftin. They can make it as granular as they want. And each of these menus will have its own. Let me just go into the other one. Actually, each of these menus will have its own link. So they have a URL, and then they can choose which URLs you go to to bring up these menus. The subsections the logo now you can see it’s on a coloured background. So they have the ability to upload white logos on coloured backgrounds, which is also pretty cool. Which footer widgets and what order they show him. What’s the Instagram URL, what’s the font colour of that logo, the background colour of that logo, the menu background colour, the footer background colour. So what we’re doing is like a content management system where they have full control over everything that this menu can possibly do. Now within here, we load up menu sections. So these are the top level where they have some other basic controls over what shows up. They can hide things at a glance. And all of this is live. All of this information is being sucked up by our SQL sink. We have a company wide SQL sink where we take all of this information at a podium we suck it up into SQL So that we can respond to these events, all of these menu subsections, to see if something goes off, they can just hide it or if it’s not ready. And then inside each of these sub sections, we have the menu items themselves. So each of these menu items are what Alex was referring to where it shows everything their back end, people would ever want to know about this menu item, what ingredients go into it? What are the recipes? So these are other objects that they have that that property managers don’t have a recipe? Maybe sub recipes, like plate where what what what, you know, what, what do we what forks, like, how many forks do we have in the restaurant, how many knives Do we have, there’s so many objects that they have to track in this system. And Podio is doing a grand job of at all. And then some other information that they control styling, and how the price goes. And each of these menu items happens to have a price point for every single venue where it’s sold, where they can control some of these residuals because they don’t sell them. But like for this

Jordan Fleming  20:58  

particular, can we go into the site to see the actual activity, see the actual?

Andrew Cranston  21:05  

Sure. So that’s all of the back end elements. Now, if I were to go to this menu online. So we can see all of those colour choices. As well as the font choices, the font colour choices, the way the Instagram URL behaves, which footer widgets show up. So if I make a change, I don’t want to make any change to anything alive. But if I were to screw up one of these footer widgets and go refresh the page, we would see it disappear, any change that they make in Podio, appears in this menu instantly, which is good also, because just to go back to the menu item for a moment, they can 86 an item for a day. So they’re like oysters are off, turn them off for this venue for the day. And then the next day, we go back to normal. So they’re able to respond to these moments that may occur. So we have our menu sections drink brunch all day, we can see they have additional information here. And that just happens to be one menu. so here we can go to another menu, different colours, different menu options, different footer widgets, different Instagram URL, everything is controlled within that one content area in Podio. And it’s mobile friendly, which is obviously very good because no doubt your folks have been have been using this on their on their phones. And I think it’s brilliant in the age of COVID. And in general, the fact that if you want to respond to the world, like the oysters are off, and you have a menu that you printed for the day, and then you got to have somebody go and scratch it out on all the menus or whatever, like being able to respond to these real world situations. But just going and making an update in Podio. And boom, the menu is updated for everybody.

Jordan Fleming  22:47  

So Alex, how did you guys do it beforehand, cuz I love the look of this as well. I just, I just love the way it all comes together? How would you? Can we stay on the web version? How would you guys have done this beforehand.

Alex Pincus  23:01  

So you know, in the olden days, we used to have a print menu. That looked nice, but it was a nightmare. Because every time we made an edit, we had to reprint and also all of our restaurants are outside. So they’re always getting wet. And then you have to reprint again. And you know, when you make a typo that you have to reprint again. And it was always a high pressure kind of scenario on a daily basis to make sure that you had enough menus and that they’re good. Um, last year, you know, in COVID head, we switched to a QR code based menu, we tried it for a second through our point of sale system, which is toast, just having our menu where people could actually order, you know, physically order their own products themselves. Nobody liked doing that people actually like reading a menu and then taking an order with a server. So, you know, we figure that out really quickly. Um, you know, Squarespace, which we use for most of our websites has, you know, kind of a built in menu maker widget. So we initially had one that looks very much like this in Squarespace, you know, that we styled to get to a way that we liked. And then when we you know, when we built it with you guys, we actually use that as the sort of jumping off point for how we would style the menu.

Jordan Fleming  24:24  

And it I just find I find it’s really so in the life of a if you think about a daily life of the restaurant or any of the restaurants or whatever, when you have to like so who does the major management like who would decide to 86 something who has who and you’re gonna like how many parts are touching this sort of thing? You know, is it something that your each individual restaurant can can control themselves? Do you do it all centrally?

Alex Pincus  24:57  

I mean, we have a it’s interesting, so I like to do the high level things of what the item is called, the actual customer facing description of it. And the price. So, you know, generally, that’s me and my brother. Um, but then on a daily on the back end, you know, I don’t know how to make many of these things, we have a, you know, the beginning, someone puts together the recipe, and if it ever changes, other people can edit those recipes. But every day, our venue managers are the ones who look at the menu for the day, and they’ll go through and 86 anything that we’re not going to be serving that day, that is something that we should be serving. So for example, our beer delivery company didn’t have the beer that we needed a couple days ago. So we had two ad sets a beer. And so for two days in a row, they would go in and they’d pull up Sunday beer, and they’d say, 86 per day. And what’s impressive about that is it just doesn’t show up as an option on the menu to the guests. So, you know, unless you’re really coming in, hoping for that specific beer. You would never know that

Jordan Fleming  26:08  

you wouldn’t be like, Oh, wait, it’s scratched out. It’s just, it’s it’s isn’t it’s not even there. It’s not Yeah, you know,

Alex Pincus  26:16  

it frequently happens, you know, during service, I got a busy Saturday or Sunday, we will run out of a certain type of moisture, or we will run out of something. And we just turn it off in real time. You know, the manager just takes out his phone and scrolling goes into Podio just turns off Navy point or Montauk, Pearl. And then boom, that item is just no longer in the menu for the day. And it’s, you know, it’s venue specific to which is cool, because our other venue managers get an alert when we at six something for the day. And they will reach out and say Oh, hey, I’ve actually got oysters if you guys need some awesome, pretty cool to see as well. So when

Jordan Fleming  26:52  

you if you’re if you’re doing that in terms of like at the restaurant, your point about people not liking to order from like no not wanting to go in and, and make their order on a thing, you know, on a tablet or whatever. But they want to actually like, look at it and order or said. So do you just have Do you just display the menus on the screen? Do

Alex Pincus  27:17  

you have individual screens, all of our tables have a QR code now. And you just, you know,

Jordan Fleming  27:23  

everybody just goes to their phone. It’s pretty

Alex Pincus  27:24  

common in New York. Now almost every restaurant has that at the moment. And you know, I’m I’m have a mixed mindset about it. I really like having a menu on a phone. But also I know people don’t love taking out their phone every three seconds. But every restaurant that you go to now has a QR menu, and I have a feeling it’s gonna stick around for a bit.

Andrew Cranston  27:45  

I’ll make sense. I mean, in COVID times, it really does make sense to have people unnecessarily handling things. And if you have to plastic coat menus or laminate menus, and is it even harder to change them, you know, like this, this, you know, everything that we’ve described here in the past half hour, it makes sense for any restaurant,

Jordan Fleming  28:02  

if it feels like a cheap diner. So that, so then from a server point of view, that also means like because when I last worked in a restaurant 25 years ago is a big, so I’m sure lots of change. But every day you would sort of be let know, you know, you kind of know Oh, hey guys, this is this is what’s on today, like this is today’s specials, or these are the catch of the day or whatever. So you’re able to essentially your staff are able to just see whatever is live for their restaurant they’re working in, by going to their phone. Yep.

Alex Pincus  28:41  

So one of the things that we were hoping to build next is a version of this, that’s staff, you know, internally facing, that has, you know, specific details that our team, it would be good for them to know, like how to describe something, or you know, more how to make it but not in the backend of Podio format to be like a similar to our customer facing menu but have instructions and photographs for our team to be able to more consistently do what they’re trying to do.

Jordan Fleming  29:13  

And then so then, like extrapolating that you have in a nice seafood dish that and they could see you know, they can bring it up on their, the the internal version, and they can see, well, this pairs really well with this wine or this wine, and you know, get all those little notes that they they would they would have but it’s in a much more convenient format. Yes. Interesting. Interesting. And you guys also, because I have to bring it up legally. I think you guys also use smartphone within your system. Do you have all of the different restaurant numbers via that now or most of them?

Alex Pincus  29:55  

No, we haven’t really talked about the you know, the guest services. That’s a pretty separate parallel. World, that’s been pretty amazing for us. But yeah, we use smartphone. And that’s tied to our guest services suite that we have that we built out. And all the venue, numbers, net, we’ve all we, they all go to one number and we have a sort of group, voicemail that addresses everything from one place, which is just for a management point makes a lot of sense for us and all that, you know, any kind of voicemail or message feeds into our guest services suite, which then gets handled in the same way incoming emails, and, you know, incoming requests are handled. But that world is really cool. We, you know, we launched that out to April. And I’ve personally done a lot of time on the, on the customer engagement side from responding to emails and building out the language of how we respond to people over the years. So it’s been really cool to see the transition and everything living in one place. It’s not an email inbox, I was frankly concerned that it wasn’t going to work, or that it would just be unwieldy. And we turned it on. And within a day, I was kind of, you know, super impressed with how well it categorised everything and organised everything. And you know, probably takes a few more seconds per interaction than a normal email. But then you build up this incredible database of people that you’re communicating with, and referencing everything that they may have done. So when someone emails us now I can see all their reservations that they’ve made tied to their profile, and you know, any kind of other emails that they’ve ever had, or phone calls they’ve ever had. So we’re really starting to build up this networks database of what and who our customers are. So it’s been pretty cool to see. And it’s, you know, just keeps getting bigger and bigger and more robust as time goes on.

Jordan Fleming  32:07  

I remember because, Andrew, I think you guys did the email portion. First.

Andrew Cranston  32:14  

Yeah. So so it was kind of in a couple of stages that the talk, ending a reservation and sending out a feedback form that was one piece, and that is going out through smartphone. And what we do is we engage a URL shortener, which is always a good plan when you are sending text links via text message, because obviously, the character counts. So try to only use you know, as as no longer. I’m sorry, yeah, three text messages for everyone. I’m sorry. Sorry. forgot all this stuff Jordan was wearing sorry. Alright, so So, so we have a URL shortener. So that’s one piece. And then another piece is they have, as of initially, all of their Squarespace websites just dumped the result into a Google Sheet, which it’s still currently does. But we were using actually Integra mat, to grab those data points from the Google Sheet and stuff them into Podio. So that they can produce items in this Guest Services workflow. And also just a shout out to globey. Male here as well. One other cool thing is we, you know, you actually, and you have kind of been a good soldier in this sort of client interaction, battle, to load as many useful boilerplate email responses, which is the first time I’ve actually seen it really used the way I think it was envisioned to be used a massive number of boilerplate responses in globey Mail specifically, so that when you are responding to these issues, all you have to do is click email, and hopefully nine times out of 10, you go, Oh, this is about this boilerplate response, boom, their names merged in and a couple of other things might be merged in send, and you’re done. So having these these cached responses, no doubt makes your life a lot easier as well.

Jordan Fleming  34:03  

And, Alex, let me just ask, so before, like, with the communication point, because you’ve got so many venues, like, to me, that’s part of the genius of all this, is, it’s not that difficult to run one venue, and have the data contained in a sensible way. But when you’ve got as many as you have it, then that’s the hard bit, I think, because then you’ve got different email boxes, because you want different email boxes, you want each restaurant, you got different phone numbers, because you want each phone number to have address, you know, a dress or whatever. That’s when it all really ties together. So as I say, so before, before this was it essentially, you know, you had a phone system that rang and, you know, you were able to talk to people and you had email inboxes with Outlook or or Gmail or whatever, what was the landscape beforehand.

Alex Pincus  34:58  

I mean, it’s kind of funny. This is allowed To get much better at customer service, I mean, we’ve been lucky that we have a restaurant group that has high demand. So, our email at phone response in the olden days, the phone message was, hey, you’ve called our phone number for this are some facts, we’re probably not gonna be able to help you. And, you know, that was our email system as well, we’d have, you know, an auto response email that said, you know, these are the top 10 things people ask us about. And if your thing is not answered by this, that hopefully, we’ll get back to you within a reasonable amount of time. Chances are 50%, that we will, and because we just had so much incoming, it was crazy. So now it’s very well organised, you know, when we get something coming in, we, you know, 95% of our incoming messages now are generated by a form, as opposed to an email address, which is great. And that form specifies the venue and the topic. So it allows us to address them sequentially, based on what’s most important. And then, you know, most of these questions have, as you mentioned, have a sort of pre established answer anyway. Or if there’s not, there’s at least a framework in which we could insert a couple sentences, make it feel good, and, you know, specifically address a need. And, you know, you can crank through 100 emails pretty quick, you know. So now, actually, her, we have much better customer service are actually engaging with everyone who reaches out to us, you know, pretty much get at inbox zero on a daily basis, which is a good feeling and makes us, you know, we feel like we’re getting more business out of the people that we’re engaging with, because we’re actually able to answer their questions, you know, part of booking helping arrange things for people. So it’s been a positive, for sure.

Jordan Fleming  36:57  

Fantastic, fantastic. And, I mean, that, to me, that’s, it’s so interesting how, you know, restaurants are, you know, the fast pace, it’s, it’s fast paced, it’s demanding restaurants are too hard businesses to run, you’ve got lots of things around margins, and things you got to keep tight, and things you got to look after. And, you know, you’ve got lots of staff and lots of equipment to mean, the equipment that you guys, each, each kitchen has x amount of equipment, all these things coming together, and being able to kind of pee, you know, piece together as a jigsaw. I can’t think of anything, but Podio that would, that would manage all those streams as well, like, you know, I mean, any one piece of software can do a booking system, or a client feedback system, or, you know, x, y and Zed. But I think the patchwork that you guys have built with Andrew and with the team, but the patchwork Did you guys have put together to me is a fascinating one that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. I really don’t? Yeah,

Andrew Cranston  38:07  

I think I think I mean, and that that a lot of these podcasts kind of lead in the same direction in terms of why people come to Podio, or what the power of Podio is. But we do have people coming to us from property management and property, wholesaling businesses, because there is no out of the box solution out there that does everything, or does things in a specific enough way that makes people feel like they’re getting work done. And I would imagine the restaurant industry is experiencing the same thing like now we’re talking about one of the projects that we’re going to be working on over the next week or so, is a mass mailer so that you can communicate with folks on a particular day. So if you had like seven reservations between six and 9pm, at Island oyster, and you knew that the restaurant had to close, for whatever reason, we’re talking about a way for you to quickly and efficiently grab those contacts and send an email to those people. And one of my first questions was, don’t you have something in your pantheon of software that allow you to do that? And the answer was no. So constantly popping up these situations where I really want to do this, but the thing that I’m using just won’t let me do it. Well, you know, the landscape of Podio being what it is like. Now, now, where we spend a lot more time building, like your systems using a lot of custom API that we’ve built globey flow in Podio workflow, I’m going to start calling it Podio workflow automation, I’m going to try start calling it Podio workflow automation has has a lot of good stuff in it. But we now you know, the Podio API being what it is, we can build the gaps. So literally, we can build solutions to do anything given enough time and direction, that that fills these gaps that you know, out of the box software, just you know, the answer is normally what your email system was, which was, Oh, you want to know how we can do this? Well, here’s five things you can do and if it’s not one of these five things, and then, you know, don’t bother emailing us again.

Alex Pincus  39:58  

So pretty crazy at this point. That, you know, there’s all these software’s that we use, I’ll reach out to them in a nice way and said, I’m a restaurant group that uses your software, this is the thing your software needs to be able to do, and they can’t do it. And you know, it’s opaque whether it’s going to happen or not. And now we’re at a place where we just have to build our own solutions to these problems. And you know, it’s funny that some of our solutions are way better solutions than the one that’s out there. I mean, the other day, I reached out to our reservation system said, Hey, we need to email everyone from today’s list of reservations, you would think that that would be a possible thing

Jordan Fleming  40:38  

that would be established? Like That seems like a use case you you’d have

Alex Pincus  40:43  

no, what if I mean, there’s all kinds of what ifs, we have that issue, probably more than most restaurants because we’re outside. So we get a lot more unique things happening. But it would make sense to want to be able to reach out to everybody, from a day for any possible thing. Or, you know, once we started talking about being able to reach out to our guests, even just to shoot them a quick note a few days, like, Hey, guys, it’s gonna be chilly. Two days from now, she plan on will bring a sweater, you know, to be able to do that awesome with just one email, you know, and so we’re pretty excited about that implementation. But you know, the big picture is, it’s funny that all these problems, you know, I don’t know how to write software, but we’re creating, you know, effectively an app that can deal with the various scenarios that occur in our life. And you know, the more of these we have, the more robust things seem to get. So it’s getting pretty interesting.

Andrew Cranston  41:35  

No, I’m glad you said that. And just to put just to put a point on what you said to like, you and Myles, both have done a lot of building on your own good building. I mean, we, we we’ve tried to help you kind of corral these situations where it may gets a little bit too granular. But going back to something that Jordan said earlier, how do you manage all these venues? Well, you guys have just your system is the absolute echelon of the relationship field, in my opinion, because you have broken things out to such a degree that a venue has relationships to the different teams who’s the marketing team, who’s the restaurant management team, who’s the, the front House of team and then all of these people and there’s the the venue management has relationships to like, this is the billing email, this is the this email, this is the logo, this is the email signature. So you guys have done great work breaking it out. And and like I said, the challenge is, is that you have a number of an enormous number of objects that you have to that you have to put down. And we’re kind of just helping you with the automation piece. But your Podio system has kind of been a collaboration between the both of us. And it’s it’s one of the it is, like I said, it’s a relationship field textbook example of how to do relationship fields, and a lot of that has come from you guys. So it’s great stuff.

Jordan Fleming  42:47  

Absolutely. It’s a fascinating system. And it’s fascinating use case we haven’t we haven’t seen and I think it’s gonna you know, I think it’s really interesting for people to understand because I because we do sometimes focus too much on, on real estate in, you know, in our pipe, my podcast, and in other things, where and I think it’s such a fascinating use case, Alex, we’re coming into the time that we have for this, I just wanted to, I’m going to put in all of the links to all of your restaurants into the podcast. So I’m gonna I’m gonna need to I’m gonna need to go to crew and website to get them all. But, you know, do you guys I mean, just close this out with it’s summer is coming up. I think officially summer starts the 20th of June. I think officially, although it’s been hot a ship New York

Alex Pincus  43:38  

as it lately, it’s been all over the map. The weather’s been crazy these days. But um, you know, today is beautiful day, unfortunately, my personal mood every day is tied to the weather. If it’s raining, I’m depressed, and on average, generally pretty happy. But, uh, you know, New York is crazy. These days, it seems like we’re coming out of COVID a lot of the restrictions have been lifted, people seem happy. We actually opened up a couple of our bars as bars. And you know, they’ve been filled with people enjoying themselves, you know, coming back into summer. So we’re really excited about, you know, the days that we’re in now. And, you know, we’re excited about the systems that we’ve got in place that are actually helping us keep it all together because you know, we’re still we’re, we appear big fish from the outside, but on the inside, it’s a pretty tight group of people making all this stuff work. And, you know, thank you to you guys for allowing us to put that together because it really does make it run, you know, with the tight little crew. So whoever’s keeping Podio alive on the back end, I’d like to share that as well. Because we dread the day that is.

Jordan Fleming  44:53  

I’ll let I’ll let Sarah Bobby and the team now they’ve got to actually I’ve been having more interactions with the back end technical team and Citrix lately they’ve been hiring more and more people actually for the Podio team, which is a good thing. But if you listen to this, and you’re in New York slash, I guess New Orleans, I didn’t realise that was the case. But if you’re looking either Actually, I should have, if you’re listening to this, please do pop over to one of the restaurants. It’s I can’t I wish I would say could say I go there all the time. Because then I’d be a happy guy and satiated. But being that I live in Poland, I don’t. But you can better believe the first time I get back to New York, I’ll be there. And you know, we’re coming to crash. Well, yeah, we’re coming crash. And, Alex, it’s been an absolute pleasure to see your system grow. Absolute pleasure today to be able to see particularly how the backend management matches the front end experience. Thank you for your insight. And Andrew, thank you as well for coming in. And giving us a bit of the benefits as you’re the guy who, who heads up the systems.

Andrew Cranston  46:01  

It’s been a very cool collaboration is kind of like our only major restaurant collaboration and and, you know, Podio as a content management system, for those who use WordPress or whatever, and have a front end ability on them to be to allow your clients to control the what what shows on the front end from Podio, as an example, has been a really cool project for me personally, and I’m excited about you know, making this internal menu and just, you know, we’re still finding new things to do with this system, which is awesome. So cool. Thanks

Alex Pincus  46:32  

for having me, guys. It’s been a, it’s been fun to recap everything, just kind of think through it. We’re excited about the next phase. And I appreciate for the chat.

Jordan Fleming  46:42  

Great stuff. All right. Thanks so much. And don’t forget if you’re listening, please do like share, send a review do all the things you fuckin should have done by now if you haven’t already, so fucking do it. And please share it around all your social medias etc. Because we do get a lot of feedback and I know the Citrix team listens as well. So shout out to all of them who are listening right now. But thanks so much, and we’ll see you next week.

Narrator  47:08  

You’ve been listening to Supercharged! with Jordan Samuel Fleming. Subscribe today on iTunes, Google Play or Spotify for your weekly dive into how you can supercharge your business by making it powered by Podio Be sure to check out our website www.wearegamechangers.com where you can learn more and arrange a 30 minute call with Jordan to understand how Podio supercharges you!