Velvet Taco boosted sales by reconfiguring kitchens into two separate production lines—one for delivery and takeout and one for dine-in. A change in the food preparation process has also cut average ticket times in half and raised sales by 15 percent. With the new production lines and QR codes placed on tables, the brand is making sure customers experience a frictionless and hassle-free ordering process.
So far, the brand's efforts are working. Off-premise sales mix more than 50 percent, compared to around 35 percent prior to COVID. In 2020, sales outside the four walls rose to 65 percent, including a 90 percent increase in off-premises orders. Digital mixed 23 percent before the pandemic, but rose to 42 percent last year, good for an 83 percent increase. Velvet Taco also added a catering channel that’s expected to add $10 million in incremental sales.
The chain has repeatedly invested in convenience, including pick-up windows, dedicated parking, drive-thrus, and a mobile app that remembers customers’ names and credit card information.
“There's a variety of ways in which tech has enabled us to become more efficient, more fluid,” Dover says. “I think that's a trend you'll continue to see. We're embracing that.”
“It's just a way of life now,” he continues. “Even though, knock on wood, life is beginning to return back to normal, I think that some of those habits are just going to stick and they're just going to continue to be part of your day to day in how you visit restaurants.”
In terms of what’s next, Velvet Taco will likely soon unveil a digital loyalty program and kiosk it’s testing in stores. It’s also focused on providing careers for employees, who they call “Tribe Members.” To Dover, the chain owes its success to the hard work and dedication of employees.
“There's nothing more important than that experience that you get in the restaurant, whether it's takeout or delivery or face-to-face,” Dover says. “We'll continue to focus on executing at the restaurant every day and opening one great restaurant at a time."