Restaurants “R” Us: Learning From Others’ Mistakes with John DiLoreto

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"Sometimes by just looking a little bit in the past to similar industries, we can potentially learn how we may be able to make the right decisions to help power our future in the restaurant industry."

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COVID-19 has spurred a digital movement in the restaurant industry. To survive, you’ve got to be online! Of course, this process isn’t easy and it comes with a lot of questions. 

Luckily we aren’t the first industry to make the shift. There are things we can learn from the choices made by retail and travel companies in the last 10-20 years. John DiLoreto, President of Flipdish North America, a company that makes running a digital restaurant easy, came to share some insights on how restaurants can own their online experience.

You can listen to or watch the whole podcast (John has some great visuals), but here’s some brief takeaways:

1. Learn From The Past

John recounted when in the year 2000 Toys “R” Us and Amazon announced a partnership where Amazon would take charge of the e-commerce branch of Toys “R” Us. This decision was seen as smart by most at the time and as a way for Toys “R” Us to take advantage of Amazon’s expertise, but it quickly fell apart due to Toys “R” Us not being able to own their customer experience online. This failed partnership would eventually be one reason Toys “R” Us would go bankrupt in September of 2017 in John’s opinion.

John then drew a parallel between this story and 3rd party delivery platforms partnering with restaurants today.

2. Beware Of Not Owning Your Customer Data

While it may seem like the best move to outsource your online ordering and delivery to a 3rd party, you risk losing ownership of the customer experience and the customer data. 

John also explained the recent success of Amazon’s “Amazon Basics” line of products which were developed to compete with other items on Amazon’s site, using the very data gained from those competitors’ sales!

3. Don’t Sell 3rd Party To On-Prem Customers

3rd party isn’t the enemy. But if you have partnered with one or more of these services, don’t advertise it to your customers who are actually in your location! If they’re already there, don’t send them home for DoorDash to take 20-30% next time.

4. Build Your Digital Presence

John suggested 3 steps to build your online presence so that you can own the entire customer journey: get your website up to speed, claim and update your Google My Business, and build meaningful relationships on social media just as you would in person. 

5. Take It Seriously, Now

“The writing is on the wall”, said John about restaurants who don’t shift to online soon. 


Thanks for reading! Make sure to check out the whole podcast, as well as other interviews with restaurant/business gurus by checking out “Give an Ovation” on, or your favorite place to listen to podcasts. Thanks John!

For More From John and Flipdish:

John’s LinkedIn

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