We opened our first location in April 2015, in Santa Monica. Brett, Alan and I travelled to Hawaii, and we just we fell in love with the concept of Poke. We love sushi and Poke allowed us to eat fresh fish more often, but more affordably and more on-the-go.
No one in the mainland was doing the concept. We wanted to bring Poke to Los Angeles and elevate the dish, take Californian and Japanese influences and put it into this format.
We pitched the idea to Dakota Wiess, who had just finished filming top chef, and brought her on as a partner.
We were the first poke shops outside of Hawaii, we had something customizable, affordable and a great alternative to sushi.
It was an immediate hit, we had lines out the door. We now have 8 locations in L.A. and 2 in San Diego.
The only hesitation we had at the time revolved around us already having our own white label online ordering platform for pick up. So our hesitation was adding a secondary service for pick up.
But, we saw the power of Ritual’s marketing platform, you guys were doing some really interesting things on the marketing and tech side. The targeting of office workers and geo-targeting within a certain radius of our locations really intrigued us and convinced us to give it try.
The most valuable thing for us is being able to calculate the exact value of the promotions we run on Ritual.
We’re able to target promotions to people within a half-mile radius, and more specifically, target people that haven’t been to Sweetfin. If that audience takes us up on the offer, it’s really great that we’re able to see if and when they return.
Being able to derive the ROI on the spend from a marketing standpoint is very unique to Ritual, it’s not something that’s easy to get from other platforms and other traditional marketing tools.
We’ve been able to supplement our eat-in business with takeout business that comes in a little bit earlier before our traditional lunch rush. With that, we’re able to better utilize our labour with higher sales over an extended period of time.
Our customers definitely like Ritual. The promotions that Ritual runs are really incentivizing, they sign up and they stay on the app and I'm sure they love the targeted promotions they get.
I think I touched on this a little bit already, the biggest differentiator is Ritual’s ability to geo-target and understand our customers. The data about how frequently or infrequently a customer comes in and the ability to target those infrequent customers with a tailored offer is invaluable.
At the end of the day it’s the restaurants job to win that customer over. Giving us a chance to access that customer and win them over is a big advantage to us.