"In the first lockdown, we very quickly formed task forces to set up our web store. The challenge was to learn and act quickly. However, our actions also had to be sustainably embedded in a holistic concept," explains Kent Hahne, CEO and founder of Apeiron. In addition to the steakhouse's own brand The Ash, Apeiron also owns the pan-Asian-Pacific-oriented GinYuu and several franchise locations of the Italo formula L'Osteria.
In addition to the webshop, which went online within a week, a dedicated The ASH app was developed in no time. "Of course, not everything went smoothly straight away, but we learned something new every day and gradually got better and better," says Hahne. According to him, the biggest challenges are to offer the guest the best possible user experience and an incentive to order directly instead of, for example, via Lieferando.
"In addition to our delicious dishes, what sets us apart is, of course, the ambience and the nice service. Unfortunately, we can't score with these attributes at the moment." All the more important, therefore, are now the friendliness on the phone and during delivery, as well as bringing the order in the best quality and as quickly as possible to the guest. Already in the first lockdown, the company quickly noticed that new guests were also paying attention.
What's your initial conclusion about the online store?
"The Ash Curbside Pick Up & Delivery" has come to stay. The shop has been super well received. So well, in fact, that we are continually expanding it. Of course it will never be able to replace our "normal" restaurant life and we don't want it to. But the shop brings us a great additional benefit and not only keeps us alive at the moment, but gives us the chance to stay in touch with our guests and crews.
What are the bestsellers?
The fact that burgers and fries are quite in demand came as little surprise to us, but veggie dishes, such as our Beyond Meat Burger are also turning out to be "big sellers". And our new Butcher Shop, featuring our premium meats for cooking at home, as well as our The Ash retail shop with ASH's most popular sauces and soups, is also becoming increasingly popular.
Are there any items that are not being accepted?
We quickly realised that we couldn't get cooked steaks to diners at the premium quality we are used to and strive for every day. However, we reacted quickly and adjusted our offer. This is a continuous process.
Is it more regular customers or do you also reach new clientele?
Of course, it is also our regular customers who have us on their radar. But if there's one good thing to come out of this, it's definitely that we're now reaching people who didn't have us on their radar before with our delivery and curbside pick-up service.
Apeiron Restaurant & Retail Management GmbH currently has nine restaurants under its own brand The Ash and two locations under its own brand Ginyuu, and is the largest franchise partner of the brand gastronomy concept with 20 restaurants under the L'Osteria brand.
System sales in 2019 amounted to €63.8 million net, an increase of 27.3 percent compared to 2018 (source: foodservice Top 100).