L'AVENUE pastry shop generates 1.5x more online orders
How this French-inspired cake shop used TableCheck to double their profits
L’AVENUE is a confectionary shop in Kitano, Kobe. Helmed by pastry chef Shigeo Hirai. It was opened in 2012, three years after Hira won the prestigious "World Chocolate Masters 2009," the only international chocolate competition in the world.
Its colorful and delicious chocolate-based desserts and French-style cafe made it a popular choice among coffee lovers and dessert aficionados. L’Avenue also sells pastries in their online shop.
“The chocolates I make seem to have a complex flavor profile, yet each flavor disappears without any aftertaste. It is like a sunset sky changing color, and you can taste it in stages,” Hirai describes the concept on the L’AVENUE website.
With the demand so high for such a popular store and online shop, L’AVENUE partnered with TableCheck to manage their online reservations and telephone calls.
Using the TableCheck platform helped L’AVENUE has increased the number of orders by 1.5 times while also reducing telephone calls to 1/10th of the number of telephone calls and eliminating queues.
According to L’AVENUE manager Rie Hirai, not only was there an increase in reservations, but the error-free bookings also improved customer satisfaction.
Read our interview with her below:
Could you tell us why you started using TableCheck at L’AVENUE?
The timing was around Christmas time. Every year, we stopped business for Christmas cake reservations on weekdays and set aside a day just for taking orders for cakes. Those days, customers would form long queues in front of the store, making them wait, and it would extend to neighboring stores.
Some customers who work on weekdays said that they could not come to the store on the day they wanted to make the order. There was also a concern that waiting in line during COVID-19 would be complicated. We were thinking about how we could solve these issues, and when we introduced the TableCheck system for the first time last Christmas, all our worries were solved.
How were you taking orders before?
Our staff would ask customers at the store how many cakes they wanted on which day and for which date, and then fill out an order slip. After that, we would compile the orders into a list, which was really hard work looking back. The work of transcribing the list of orders received was also all done by hand, so mistakes were bound to occur. Now that the entire process can be managed by data, all the problems that had been bothering us for a long time have been resolved.
It may have been inconvenient for customers who are not good at using the Internet, but I think many of them were pleased because they no longer have to wait in queues for a long time and can now order without worrying about timing. TableCheck has helped us tremendously, as we didn't have to close the shop to take reservations, reducing resources, and eliminating human error.
You’ve cut down your phone reservations significantly.
One of the major improvements is that we have reduced the number of telephone calls to one-tenth. Normally, orders are placed via phone or in-store, and customers who were not able to come to the store would order by calling. However, it takes quite a bit of time to respond to each phone call. The phone was ringing all the time, so one of us had to answer the phone. Moreover, since there was only one line, we heard from customers that they could not get through to us.
Under these circumstances, we had to devote a lot of resources to just answering the phone, which means that we had to have staff on the line all the time. We still receive some calls, but most of them are to answer inquiries or to make appointments for the near future, which is rare.
Did you notice other improvements in your operations?
Even when they call to place an order, more and more of them call us after seeing the TableCheck reservation page. A lot of them order by product name, which makes it much easier than before when we had to explain everything verbally.
What are any other advantages of online reservations in your opinion?
We are now able to accept orders outside of business hours, such as at night. It seems that many of our customers prefer to make reservations at night. In fact, we often receive orders at night. Since we only check the content of the order during staff working hours, it is very smooth for us and we are thankful to eliminate lost opportunities.
In addition, now that we are able to accept reservations outside of business hours, we receive considerably fewer order calls and inquiries after the regular holidays. In the past, the phone lines would not stop ringing for a while before we opened for business after the holidays, so we feel that the introduction of TableCheck has made it possible for us to operate smoothly.
How are you using the system for customer management?
The ability to write special notes on customer information is very helpful. Also, the ability to save pictures of the menu items ordered is very useful. For example, if a customer has ordered a special cake in the past, we can make a new proposal based on that information.
Have you seen an increase in orders since the introduction of online reservations?
At the moment, we only accept online reservations for whole cakes, but those orders have definitely increased. Considering this, I think that there must have been a considerable amount of lost opportunities due to the lack of telephone connections and other reasons.
I had a sense that the number of orders was gradually increasing right after the introduction of the new system, but I think it has now increased by about 1.5 times. Before the introduction of the system, the number of cake reservations tended to be relatively low during the summer, but this year, after the system was introduced, the number of orders has been maintained, and I think the online reservation system has been very positive.
Please tell us about your future plans.
Actually, we are planning a new restaurant, and we are thinking of developing a menu that is different from our current restaurant. We would love to use Table Check when we open.
Do you plan to accept reservations for whole cakes at the new store as well?
We are thinking of focusing on chocolate and ice cream at the new store, and we will be taking orders for these items at Table Check. The location will be very close to the store and the opening is planned for this fall.
About the Author
An experienced professional in event planning and obtaining media coverage for restaurants, Mikako Mochizuki joined TableCheck as a PR manager in 2019. An avid gourmand, she believes that good food can bring about world peace.
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