The underground story of business, entrepreneurs and influencers.
Talk About It
Fantastic: Coffee addicts, rejoice! A growing startup called Bottomless is here to make sure you never unexpectedly encounter an empty bag of coffee ever again. For a monthly membership fee of a yet-to-be-determined amount, Bottomless automatically restocks your coffee with the help of an internet-connected scale placed under your bag of coffee grounds. The scale tracks the weight of the bag to monitor coffee supply, automatically replenishing members’ supply before they actually run out. Founded by Mayer and Liana Herrera in 2016, Bottomless has grown its customer base to 400 members and was recently admitted to the Y Combinator accelerator program, a big step in the company’s road to the big leagues.
Celebrity: An icon of decades past, this week’s celebrity is none other than the last remaining Blockbuster on earth. As the digital streaming movement prepares to wipe out the penultimate Blockbuster location in Perth, Australia later this month, there is just one remaining: a franchised location in Bend, Oregon. As the brand teeters on the edge of extinction, the store manager at the last Blockbuster offered up some hope, calling the location a tourist attraction that “won’t close anytime soon.”
Cash Money: As more and more franchises, particularly food establishments, invest in efforts to keep up with changing consumer demands, one U.S. city is taking a stand on how much streamlining is too much: Philadelphia is officially requiring most stores and restaurants to accept cash. Establishments have until July 1 to comply with the new rule or risk fines up to $2,000. The legislation serves as a worthwhile reminder for brands that an in-person cash transaction is still sometimes the best—and only—option for many a customer.
Forward Thinking: While the world of cryptocurrency remains largely unexplored by big-name brands, Starbucks has decided to get in on the action—tangentially. While the coffee giant isn’t accepting Bitcoin as legal tender anytime soon, Starbucks did receive significant equity in a digital asset company called Bakkt. Starbucks isn’t a cash investor in the company but will be involved in developing the card and app that will allow it to serve as the first merchant on Bakkt’s third-party intermediary platform without assuming any of the risk associated with crypto.
Friend or Foe: Is "The Amazon Effect” something that the restaurant industry can withstand? Such is the question operators are facing in this brave new world dominated by the e-commerce giant. While retailers are bearing the brunt of Amazon’s industry-disrupting technology, the restaurant industry is also impacted by the wealth of customer data Amazon possesses. While some operators think the restaurant industry’s unique business model will keep it away from direct competition with Amazon, others are beginning to implement data-driven solutions to better respond to consumer preferences in an effort to keep the e-commerce giant at bay. Amazon: friend or foe of restaurant operators?
Quote: "I believe the restaurant industry is realizing that gender diversity could be a key to any brand's success. Diversifying top positions is not just about leveling the playing field; it's about finally using the best resources they have available to capitalize on every brand's potential." - Slim Chickens Executive Director of Franchise Development Jackie Lobdell, as part of FastCasual’s annual "Women in the Lead" series.
Marketers across the board are generally quite creative and thorough in their consumer marketing. Why, then, are they so lazy when it comes to B2B marketing? In his latest column for 1851 Franchise, No Limit Agency CEO Nick Powills calls out brands for their one-dimensional B2B marketing tactics and challenges them to treat this messaging with the same multi-channel approach as they do their consumer marketing. Enacting engaging B2B campaigns, Nick argues, will break the cycle of stagnating communication and help deliver your message to the right audience in the right places.
Life Drives Success
Nick’s guest on this week’s podcast is none other than Gary Brackett, former NFL pro turned franchising pro. Brackett is currently CEO and owner of Stacked Pickle, an Indianapolis-based sports restaurant concept that is now growing through franchising thanks to his leadership. The Super Bowl-winning linebacker discusses how he translated the work ethic honed during his football career to succeed in the business world and what’s next for Stacked Pickle.