Friends of Branded!
Happy Saturday and I hope everyone had a great week.
Team Branded ventured down to Orlando, FLA earlier this week for the ICR Conference and I must say, it was a tremendous event. On behalf of Branded as well as the portfolio companies ICR also extended the invitation to participate in this annual event, we appreciate being included and the entire Shoutout section below is dedicated to this first conference of 2024.
For the Top of the Fold section this week, it was a recording of a special episode of our Hospitality Hangout that will be part of the 2024 DRA Restaurant Marketing Summit that was the driver and inspiration of this week’s theme – Return on Time Invested ("ROTI"). I therefore want to give a thank you to ‘The Technology Guy’ and ‘The Digital Guy’ for being this week's muse. IYKYK.
It’s often said that time & money are our most valuable commodities or said differently, that time & money represent the purest form of zero-sum games.
A zero-sum game is a mathematical representation in game & economic theory of a situation that involves two sides, where the result is an advantage for one side and an equivalent loss to the other. Simply put, one player’s gain equals another player’s loss.
I’m going to take a risk here and reject the notion that money is a zero-sum game b/c there’s always an opportunity to make more of it, whereas there is no opportunity to create more time. Time is therefore our most important commodity, and it should be valued and respected accordingly.
A friend & mentor once helped me understand that prioritizing what’s most important and letting go of what's less so at least allows you to manufacture more time by freeing yourself of unnecessary commitments, responsibilities or otherwise. Thank you, as always, Mr. Wolf.
As I jump into ROTI (and yes, I love the restaurant ROTI, but no, there's no connection between ROTI and ROTI in this week’s H^2), let’s first put a definition around Return on Time Invested.
The formula for ROTI is to divide the amount of time SAVED, by the amount of time INVESTED, and then multiply by 100. Similar to Return on Investment, which measures the efficiency or profitability of an investment of capital or is used to compare the efficiency of a number of investments, the ROTI tries to measure or gauge whether time is being used efficiently.
The biggest difference between ROI and ROTI, is that the former is a quantitative measure while the latter is more qualitative and is judged solely in the eye of the beholder. In my research on ROTI (research = a few Google searches), the quickest and easiest method to gauge whether people felt time was well-spent was, wait for it, to ask them.
That sounds very similar to the strategy Lloyd Dobler used to get Diane Court to go out with him that he shared with a few gentlemen at the Gas n Sip in the film 1989 Romantic Comedy "Say Anything (and yes, there were no women around at the Gas N Sip...anywhere).
This “ask” strategy or proposed method of quantifying the ROTI is for the leader of a meeting, for example, to ask the participants, of said meeting, to rate the meeting from 0 to 5, with 0 being a complete waste of time and 5 signifying an excellent use of time. In order to pursue improvement, anyone that rated the meeting a 3 or lower is invited to suggest one thing that could have been done differently that would have increased their rating by one point. Sounds like a fun exercise. Good luck with that.
But let’s bring this back home to hospitality & technology and one of the most important value-propositions a technology & innovation company can deliver for hospitality operators – save them time!
Time is money (I just made that up) and if you’re saving an operator time, you’re saving them money. If you’re saving them time, you’re making them more efficient. If you’re saving them time, you’re giving them the opportunity to allocate it elsewhere and therein lies the potential for a multiplier effect.
Let’s really dive in, last week Branded enthusiastically announced Chowly's acquisition of Targetable (and for anyone that wagered that I wouldn't bring that transaction up again in this week’s edition of the H^2, you don’t know me very well). 😊
Both of these companies were early investments of Branded Hospitality Ventures, but before we were investors, Branded Restaurants was a customer of both companies.
And here’s where the ROTI comes into play (you knew I’d eventually get there, but I was pacing myself), Chowly was among the first emerging technology companies to address "tablet hell" for Branded’s restaurants. As the Managing Partner of our restaurant company, Schatz would need to have two servers assigned to manage the tablets of the 8 different delivery service platforms ("DSPs") that Branded was using during peak delivery times. The manual process of entering orders and the challenges associated with our wanting to leverage these 8 different DSPs was time-consuming and costly (remember, time is money).
Of course, Chowly does much more than address "tablet hell" (especially since the company has gone from helping a few hundred restaurants, when Branded engaged with this most operator-centric company, to many thousands of restaurants it now supports), but for Branded, it all started with a most material pain-point, the view that off-premise was only going to become a more important part of our restaurant's sales and we needed (pausing for effect and now repeating the word...NEEDED) to address this high-level challenge.
As we look at Targetable, I have the privilege of bringing into the H^2 for the very first time, a line from the song, “I’m Henry the Eighth, I am” and channel my love of the 1990 film Ghost and say, “Second Verse, Same as the First” (that one's for you BAM).
What I mean by "second verse, same as the first" is that in the same way Branded Restaurant's was introduced and thereafter embraced Chowly, (as a customer and thereafter investor) is how we came to embrace Targetable.
Our restaurants had a pain-point and without an off-the-shelf solution available, we needed to find an emerging technology company to embrace and help us address the challenges of managing our digital marketing needs. The work associated with managing ad campaigns, social media, custom landing pages, e-mail marketing, and discoverability is taxing and time-consuming. Whoomp! (There it is).
With the embracement of Targetable, the above-mentioned services along with others, that were really hard and time-consuming to our small (but mighty) marketing team, were taken off their plate.
As I watched the Branded Restaurants’ MARCOM team embrace Targetable, I knew that platform was here to stay at Branded Restaurants b/c Schatz would be too scared to take it away from the aforementioned small, but mighty team. 😊
This week’s Top of the Fold section is NOT about the coming together of these two operator-centric companies (although I am still celebrating this acquisition), but it is about how technology & innovation companies can create efficiencies, bring value and save operators' time.
To my friends and leaders of emerging operator-centric technology & innovation companies, who knows, the next operator you win as a customer, may very well become one of your most strategic investors and boosters! Hey, you never know!
Last comment on Branded’s portfolio companies that are time savers and efficiency creators (I promise, last one).
Close your eyes and think for a moment about sitting at a casual full-service restaurant and you’d like a beer, glass of wine or non-alcoholic beverage. How does that happen and how much human capital is required?
I believe you'll see that there are 3 human interactions needed to fulfill your needs as a guest: (i) a server needs to come over to your table to take your order and enter into the POS; (ii) the bartender needs to create / pour the beverage and place it on the service bar; and (iii) a server or runner needs to bring it to you.
3 acts taken by humans is no small (or inexpensive) workflow.
Branded Restaurants ran the same play as we did with Chowly, and Targetable when we embraced PourMyBeer not only as a labor-saver, but also to create a unique and desirable guest experience.
When our guests at Duke’s Original Roadhouse wanted a beer, they could get up and help themselves. Our guests enjoyed the social engagement around the self-pour “beer wall” and the world leading self-pour system freed-up time for our front of house staff to focus on other tasks and give our guests even more service and attention. PourMyBeer remains one of Branded's leading technology companies that allows operators to leverage tech in order to be more hospitable and take even better care of their guests.
For more information on Branded Hospitality Ventures' time saving and operator-centric portfolio companies, you can check that out here or give me a call.
Restaurants and our guests win when we use our time efficiently & effectively.
Operators, leveraging the right technology will improve your ROTI!
It takes a village.
I mentioned in the Top of the Fold that this week’s Shoutout section was dedicated to our friends at ICR.
Earlier this week, Schatz, Noah Stern and I had the privilege of attending the ICR Conference. 2024 represents Branded’s 5th time attending this event (do we get a 5-year jacket? IYKYK) and in the category of TMI, this was ICR’s 26th year hosting this conference which focuses on Public Companies, Private Companies and Next Generation Growth Companies.
I’m willing to wager (I’ve admitted previously in the H^2 that I make “bets”) that Branded Hospitality Ventures was the earliest-stage investment platform at the ICR Conference and that’s a role I love playing.
This event attracts almost 3,000 attendees and that includes some of the most recognized investors in the world. This conference is content rich and my only issue with the line-up of presentations and panels was that I didn’t have enough time to attend as many as I wanted to checkout.
ICR is a strategic communications and advisory company that helps its clients achieve business goals, build awareness & credibility and enhance long-term enterprise value.
The ICR Team is also comprised of good people that deeply care and are acutely aware of what attendees require at industry events and the ICR Conference offers meeting spaces, networking opportunities and dynamic evening activities hosted by some iconic restaurant groups.
To the entire ICR Team and specifically our friends Thomas Ryan, Don Duffy, Anton Nicholas, Liz DiTrapano, Caitlin Burke and Jessica Liddell, we appreciate and value you. This event is not only on the shortlist of our favorite events to attend each year, but it sets a very high watermark in January for others to try to reach.
Traveling to industry events is NOT an inexpensive endeavor, but that’s not solely or even really about the costs of flights, hotels and otherwise. As an attendee, to make these events successful requires a most meaningful commitment of time.
The 5-Ps apply here (Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance), so there’s a great deal of work that you need to commit to in order to make the most of the event and then there’s the 3-day commitment to attend the event.
None of the above even considers the time away from home, loved ones and other responsibilities.
I believe it's fair to say that I’ve exhausted my focus on the importance of time and how we must all value and prioritize how it’s spent.
For Team Branded, the ICR Conference is an event we feel is absolutely worth the investment of our time.
To the folks we spent time with down at the event, thank you for sharing your time with us. We know your time is valuable and needs to be respected. We hope the time we spent together is something you feel was well spent.
See you all down in Orlando in January for ICR 2025!
Readers of the Hospitality Headline, that are interested in learning more about Branded’s portfolio companies, investment strategies and future opportunities, are invited to explore becoming part of our Access Hospitality Network.
In today’s episode of Hospitality Hangout, Michael Schatzberg “The Restaurant Guy” and Jimmy Frischling “The Finance Guy” are joined by Chris Dull, President and CEO of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, and Chris Wren, Vice President Head of International Development of Dairy Queen.
This week's winner of the WITW is Branded contest goes to our friend, partner and father of one of DRIBBL basketball's best new coaches, the talented Mr. John Rigos.
In the photos below, John is showing off his Branded swag out in Dubai as he demonstrates his unique communication skills with his handsome travel companion as he navigates territories to expand his restaurant empire!
We appreciate you Mr. Rigos and everything you do for Branded and our industry.
By: Seth Temko, Solutions Services Partner at Branded Hospitality Ventures
Entrepreneurs and other business leaders often underestimate the time and effort required to bring their ideas to fruition. This can be a ‘trap’.
By: Rev Ciancio, Head of Revenue Marketing at Branded Hospitality Ventures
I go to a lot of trade shows. Typically, there isn't a ton of marketing content presented. It usually leans more operational, culinary, or leadership-focused. When there are marketers on stage, the conversation is usually strategic.
Strategies are helpful.
Further to that, who is the person in the org that needs them? It's not really the CMO / Head of / VP of marketing, you know, the person that actually attends the trade shows. It's the marketer who is in the trenches, running social media, managing the loyalty program, creating the emails, etc.
ASK THE HEADLINE
🔍 Got Questions? We've Got Answers! 🌟
Satisfy your thirst for knowledge? Look no further! It's time to dive into our brand-new segment: "Ask The Headline"! 🎉
📅 We'll be answering YOUR questions every week. And here's the best part: you can choose to stay anonymous or receive a fabulous shout-out when we feature your question!
That’s it for today!
See you next week, (about the) same bat-time, same bat-channel.
It takes a village!
Branded Hospitality Ventures ("Branded") is an investment and advisory platform at the intersection of food service, technology, innovation and capital. As experienced hospitality owners and operators, Branded brings value to its portfolio companies through investment, strategic counsel, and its deep industry expertise and connections.
Learn more about Branded here: Branded At-A-Glance January 2024