Conor: Jake, you adapted your businesses quickly in various ways, from a food supply perspective, to customer experience. What advice would you give to other business owners who know they need to change, but are not sure how to do it?
Jake: I would say listening to your customers and communication.
If you want to know how to change your business, listen to your customers. And if they're not telling you anything, just ask. We have so much ability to contact them through socials or talk to them in person and ask, ‘how is your experience?’ ‘What can we change to do better?’ People will tell you and appreciate you involving them.
Clear, transparent communications is also really important when you are making changes in your business. It’s important to communicate with your staff, explaining the changes and why you are making them, so they feel confident in their jobs and can communicate better with customers. And it’s important to communicate with customers in an open and honest way.
For example, we have made a solid commitment to supply our café in town – Café Mussette - with as much local produce and product as possible.
Understandably, customers ask ‘why is my meal now $20 instead of $17? Why are the prices higher’? When you can communicate to customers through staff training, point of sale in-store or messaging on your social media channels and explain that ‘You guys think is really important to support local and so do we; that’s why we are getting our trout or our cheese from local farms, we're getting all of our ingredients now within a certain radius’, you find not only are customers more likely to come and support you, they'll understand why the business is changing and the prices might be fluctuating. They appreciate the transparency.