With more people running their lives online, Così has recognized the importance of DoorDash and other third-party delivery companies. “People are living on their phones, and that's why we're putting a lot into digital advertising and finding those people when they're looking and when they're ready to order,” DiNatale says. “Our app that we launched this year integrates with our loyalty program. You can order online, redeem rewards, and add points all through the app. Door Dash is in the app as well, so if you want delivery, simply click on the Door Dash icon. That’s working really well for us. We're trying to stay in front of those guests when they're either ready to order or thinking about ordering, and just making it as easy as possible.”
Così has a big push for digital adds slated for the end of 2019 and into 2020. It will also work on more traditional avenues like direct mail and billboards. “But there's so much ability to track [online] and see what does well and how quickly you can change,” DiNatale says. “For instance, we noticed that a lot of people that come to our site and visit our stores are iOS users. So, we use that as one of the key pieces to target our guests—let's put more into iOS users.”
Menu wise, Cosi plans to bring back its turkey stuffing melt in October, which has been a popular fall sandwich. “It's something that comes around seasonally, and we're always looking to improve our current menu and hear from guests,” DiNatale says. “We're bringing in a new rotisserie chicken for our salads and sandwiches in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia market to test it out. We're really excited. We did some focus groups and people are really enjoying that. So that's one of the improvements that we see making.”
Così is also going back “to some of our classic products of food quality,” he continues. A key selling point is its bread. “People talk about Così’s bread and how good it is. That's such a key part. It looks different, feels different, and tastes different than getting sandwiches at other places. That's really what people connect to. The TBM [tomato basil mozzarella] sandwich is our best seller. It's simple, but it's classic and delicious.”
As the company opens new units, it is focusing on smaller locations and doing more off-premises business. Così’s catering business now totals more than 25 percent of its sales, and the largest catering order it handled this year was 1,000 people in the D.C. region.