It’s fair to say that ULI is something of an institution for the residents of Notting Hill. A hidden gem, hugely popular with locals, famous faces and critics alike, it was universally loved by everyone who frequented the original site, known as the area’s ‘best kept secret’. When its tenure on the All Saints Road came to an end after 17 years (in 2014), it didn’t take long for the endearing popularity of the venue, and restaurateur Graham Rebak, to coax its founder, Michael Lim, out of retirement. Subsequently, in 2016 the new ULI opened its doors afresh on Ladbroke Road.
With physical work underway on the transformation and expansion of a former convenience store into the all new ULI, the restaurant’s owners set to work planning how to re-position and re-energise the venue’s brand.
Early on they knew that they wanted to build in a strong digital element, making it possible for customers to order their food for delivery or collection without relying on third party aggregators. These they avoided for a number of reasons. First, they were rightly reluctant to pay the high commission rates associated with the services, and second, they were wary of long pay lead times. Above this, they didn’t feel a third-party aggregator could fit into the restaurant’s brand and represent the beginning-to-end luxury experience ULI wanted to give its customers.
A final but vital requirement for ULI was having access to customer data. Being a high-end, local restaurant, customer relationships are critical for its business. ULI understands that user data allows its team to enhance loyal relationships, monitor lead and delivery-times and interact with customers in a personal way, rather than including them in a mass-marketing operation.
When ULI first found Preoday, it wasn’t just the customer benefits it found attractive, but also the sturdy, failsafe technology on offer. Wanting a solution that could work seamlessly with its existing systems, the company was impressed when it found the platform could integrate with the existing TISSL EPoS technology, effectively letting customers ‘self-serve’ from a remote location.
In the Preoday platform, ULI saw an opportunity to open a gateway to a new and different generation of customers, thereby accessing fresh revenue streams. And, because the restaurant places a strong emphasis on customer marketing, it knew that using analytics to see the impact of its efforts would allow it to hone its strategy.
ULI describes Preoday as an operations conduit, linking its kitchen and back office, to the front end, where food is delivered by the restaurant’s bikers to its satisfied customers.
Since launch, digital orders have flowed through the platform and the team notes that the service has introduced the restaurant to new customers; people that sample ULI’s food using the ordering portal have frequently gone on to visit the restaurant in person. With average orders floating around the £40-£50 mark, but some reaching as much as £200, the potential and future revenue from fresh customers is impressive.
The Preoday platform has also enabled ULI to maintain the premium branding it sought when adopting an ordering technology. The restaurant retains complete control over its identity and its service is seen by customers as a quality option for collection takeaway and delivery.
In their own words
“Despite the rise of online ordering and delivery, we know that people want to continue having human experiences and interacting with staff at their favourite eateries. We also know that many restaurants, offering delivery through third parties, have to inflate their prices to make up for the shortfall caused by high commission rates. This means their loyal customers are paying a premium for convenience. When launching our ordering service we were determined not to do that to ours. Using Preoday meant we didn’t have to. The platform allows us to streamline ordering for customers and our team while safeguarding the premium and personal service we are known for.”
– Graham Rebak, Managing Director, ULI
It’s not as catchy as: ‘When is a door not a door?’ (answer, when it’s a jar) but it speaks to the idea that in-car collection, and the technologies that support it, are flexible enough to bend to the needs of a business and its guests.
Delivery can be daunting to the uninitiated, and it might be tempting to sign up with a third-party ordering aggregator that offers the service, such as UberEats, but other options could suit your business and brand better. Here we present three different ‘levels’ of delivery, starting with the most basic – and cheapest method: doing it yourself.