dal + Zena

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Roll with me

Let’s build this:

Rather than inventory or delivery - I recommend we build & validate a sushi ordering app

The app will be focused on sushi consumers. Will allow restaurants to take orders and offer those as dine-in or take-out. Working assumption is that take-out will be the primary delivery method.
The value to restaurants is real. It’s more revenue, more customers, and a new channel to sell through (for free).
The value to consumers is that, if you want sushi, this is the best app to find & buy it.

Why this, over that?

Inventory management platform:
Value for small independent restaurants is not validated or completely obvious.
I can’t be certain we’ll be better than someone who’s been doing this in their head for 20 years, or even for 3 years. We can’t definitive say we’ll save them time and money.
There is not a clear path to product-market-fit; and therefore needs more validation.
Sushi delivery app
Delivery should be a feature added into the sushi ordering app - but do not start with delivery.
A sushi ordering app requires us to launch to 2 user groups. Delivery requires a 3rd user group, complicating GTM requirements, increasing development scope, without a clear path to win as a business. COST is a major factor to restaurants and it’s not clear we can compete on cost or add any additional value.


Build the easiest and most convenient sushi ordering app.
Gain traction.
Earn Revenue.
Allow restaurants to offer their own delivery service for an added fee.
Restaurants collect entire delivery fee.
Analyze the data on sushi delivery, from our ordering app to decide if we expand into sushi delivery ourselves, or integrate with 3rd parties for restaurants who don’t offer their own delivery.

Analyze the orders and explore if the ordering app provides a competitive advantage to build an inventory management platform that adds explicit value to restaurants.

Analyze the workflows to see if there are arbitrage opportunities to facilitate payments to give more value back to restaurants and capture more revenue.

App overview

Goal: Build the easiest and most convenient sushi ordering app.

How is this app better than existing solutions for the consumer?

Has more sushi restaurants
Experience is build specifically for sushi ordering
Searching specific to Sushi
Specific roll or menu item
Menu variety
Avg price for basic or specialty rolls
Who offers delivery
Location (map view)
Wait time??
Which offer delivery and delivery cost/time?
Optimize order flow?
Once they’re ready to order, can we order menu items based on their original search?
Is there a better order flow?
search → see restaurant options → select a restaurant → order from menu
Can we skip steps and still have it be a good experience where users won’t feel lost or taken advantage of?
This may not be worth any effort since people are used to an existing order flow.
Create data specific for sushi restaurants?
Have users rate their orders based on Sushi relevant metrics. Examples may be:
This helps improve our user experience over time.
Order feedback loop must be 🔥
Communication on orders needs to be as good as possible.
Notify the user when the order is being prepared and/or estimated time of completion.
Notify the user if their order has to be changed due to restaurant running out of ingredients
FUTURE: If this happens, would be awesome if we notify the user and ask if they want to transfer their order to a new restaurant, or change their existing order. Then we do the work for them.
Notify the restaurant of any changes and collect payment updates up front so the restaurant doesn’t worry.

Quick sketch of happy path:

Plan of action

Actual next steps
Talk to restaurant owners
How do restaurants take our orders? How do they provide updates on those orders? What’s possible here? What’s ideal?
Prepare a pitch and get restaurants to sign up for the app
See if they will pay NOW to be listed on the app and promoted
A demo would be helpful here, but doesn’t have to be functional.
Learn about the features we need on V1
What % of owners would offer their own delivery service through the app if we built that functionality?
Talk to sushi eaters. Offer to pay for sushi and have people order sushi right then.
Find out data about sushi order sizes - to help estimate revenue potential
Find data sources that may enhance the experience:
google ratings, reviews, address, operating hours, etc.
Menus, pricing (would be great to automatically list the restaurant via web scraping so the owner has very little onboarding work to do)
From this research and testing → define V1
Validation milestones
Technically - can we access the data sources we need to offer a compelling app in V1?
Have we identified a region to launch in? Is there sufficient sushi being ordered in that region?
Do we have restaurants signed up?
Have any restaurants paid?
Can we get more sushi restaurants on our platform than what is in Uber Eats?
Value prop is that we have more sushi offerings.
Do any restaurants show intent to offer their own delivery?
Are there things we can do to help them, aside from offering our own service entirely?
Are we able to drive downloads?
Are consumers ordering?
Are restaurants fulfilling the orders at a high completion and satisfaction rate?

Going to market

Supply side of the network:
Get restaurants signed up and listed in the app
Try to get full saturation of sushi restaurants in that region ahead of launch
Are there Sushi restaurants without websites? Not on Google? How can we get them signed up in the app?
Do we have to offer an “order now, and pay with cash when you get there” feature?

Demand side:
Test various methods to get consumer attention on the app
location based advertising (billboards)
restaurants referring users to the app (on the website, flyers in the restaurant)
discounts on first orders
Typical digital advertising - measure effectiveness for target region.
Devise a loyalty program and execute. I’m not the expert here but I know a few people who are. Learn from them and deploy.

Success metrics

Are restaurants benefiting?
Count of restaurants actively taking orders each day/week/month
Are consumers engaging?
Count of unique consumers purchasing sushi each day/week/month

Other detailed metrics to track, monitor, and investigate:

Are we adding value to restaurants, and will they stay with us?
Count of total restaurants signed up
Count of restaurants actively taking orders each day/week/month
Orders per restaurant in a given timeframe
$$$ per restaurant in a given timeframe (last month, this app brought in $xxx to your restaurant)
Churn and/or Retention ratio for a given time period
Value to consumers
Count of unique consumers purchasing sushi
Avg order amount, over time
Number of orders, over time
geographical regions with orders
what are people searching by?
what variables matter most when ordering sushi?


See “Plan of Action”
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